World Bulletin / News Desk
At least 15 children have been killed by ISIL snipers over the past two days in the northern city of Mosul, according to an Iraqi army officer.
"ISIL snipers are targeting children as they try to flee with their families to areas of Mosul under the army’s control," Army First Lieutenant Nazhan al-Qassem told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
"Within the last two days, at least 15 children have been killed this way," he said.
Al-Qassem went on to assert that the extremist group was deliberately targeting children as a means of deterring panic-stricken local residents from trying to flee parts of the city still under its control.
In a related development, Iyad Rafed, an Iraqi Red Crescent official, told Anadolu Agency that over the last two days some 2,150 refugees -- including many women and children -- had left parts of eastern and northern Mosul that were recently captured by the army.
According to Rafed, civilians were leaving "liberated" areas due to poor humanitarian conditions -- including acute food shortages -- and ongoing shelling by ISIL militants.
On Tuesday, Iraqi government officials put the total number of Mosul residents to have fled the war-battered city in recent weeks at some 80,000.
ISIL captured Mosul, along with vast swathes of northern and western Iraq, in mid-2014.
For the last 45 days, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition warplanes and local allies on the ground -- has been fighting to retake Mosul, which was once considered Iraq’s second most populous city.Last Mod: 01 Aralık 2016, 16:38