At least 20,000 children are trapped in Iraq's Fallujah city under siege by Iraqi forces and face shortages and forced recruitment as fighters, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a press release on Wednesday.
"UNICEF estimates that at least 20,000 children remain trapped in the city," the agency's Iraq representative Peter Hawkins said.
"Children face the risk of forced recruitment into the fighting, strict procedures for security screening and separation from their families," Hawkins said.
He added "Children who are recruited see their lives and futures jeopardised as they are forced to carry and use arms, fighting in an adult war."
UNICEF renewed calls for safe corridors to be opened to allow Fallujah's civilian population to escape.