The UN children’s agency warned that the fight for ISIS’s stronghold of Raqqa threatens more than 40,000 children, while overnight airstrikes on the city in northern Syria killed more than 25 children and injured many more.
“Heavy violence in Raqqa is threatening the lives of more than 40,000 children trapped in extremely dangerous conditions,” UNICEF Spokesman Christophe Boulierac told media representatives at the UN office in Geneva on Friday.
The agency is receiving alarming reports from Raqqa, Boulierac said. He added that the intensified fighting has resulted in massive displacements in and around the city, with some 80,000 children from Raqqa city now internally displaced and living in temporary shelters and camps. Boulierac called for the safe evacuation of children from the province.
Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said: “We have increasing reports of people facing deteriorating humanitarian, health, living and security conditions and there are particular concerns over reports of increased shortages of essential commodities such as food, medicine and fuel.”
Laerke noted that civilians in the province have no access to humanitarian assistance, adding that military operations to drive ISIS out of Raqqa have affected more than 440,000 civilians across the province.
Meanwhile, local sources in Raqqa on Friday said that 45 people were killed in airstrikes by the international anti-ISIS coalition forces on the city during the past 48 hours. Activists published footage showing the coalition forces using white phosphorus in the bombing on populated areas in the city. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)