Three years after violence in Iraq intensified, 1,075 children have been killed, including 152 in the first six months of 2017, UNICEF said yesterday.
"Since 2014, in Iraq, 1,130 children have been maimed and injured, 255 in the first six months of 2017, over 4,650 children have become separated or unaccompanied by their families," according to the agency's assessment detailed in a new report, Nowhere to Go.
There have been 138 attacks on schools and 58 on hospitals; more than three million children do not attend school on a regular basis while 1.2 million children are out of school and, one in every four children comes from a poor household, UNICEF said.
In Iraq, children are trapped in an endless cycle of violence and increasing poverty
the children's agency said, while noting the conflict has displaced 3 million people – half of them children.
"In west Mosul, children are being deliberately targeted and killed to punish families and deter them from fleeing the violence. In less than two months, at least 23 children have been killed and 123 have been injured in that part of the city alone," UNICEF said.
The agency said more than five million children are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
"Across Iraq, children continue to witness sheer horror and unimaginable violence," UNICEF's Representative in Iraq, Peter Hawkins, said in a statement. "They have been killed, injured, abducted and forced to shoot and kill in one of the most brutal wars in recent history."
Iraq has been roiled by violence since Daesh seized vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014.
Iraqi forces, backed by air cover from a US-led coalition, are currently engaged in a wide-scale offensive aimed at dislodging Daesh from Mosul, the terrorist group's last stronghold in northern Iraq.