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Dozens of Children Missing during Mosul Battles

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

On June 3, dozens of families from Al Zanjili fled the area as battles raged between the Iraqi Security Forces and ISIS. Families attempted to escape towards safe areas under Iraqi Security Forces control, but were faced by ISIS militants on their journey, who killed at least 250 individuals.

 9 - 6 - 2017

 

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights stated that the war against ISIS in Nineveh province has left many children lost away from their parents, unaware of their whereabouts. Likewise, many families have since lost track of their children.

On June 3, dozens of families from Al Zanjili fled the area as battles raged between the Iraqi Security Forces and ISIS. Families attempted to escape towards safe areas under Iraqi Security Forces control, but were faced by ISIS militants on their journey, who killed at least 250 individuals.

A member of the IOHR’s monitoring network stated: “Bodies were left for hours out in the open, until Iraqi Security Forces were finally able to reach the area and move the survivors to nearby hospitals. Despite this, many families are still searching for their lost children.”

Arkan Al Zuhairi is a 9-year old boy who was lost during the escape with his family from Al Zanjili area, in the early morning hours on Saturday, where they were exposed to ISIS fire.

Yousef Hazem, uncle of young Arkan, stated to the IOHR in an interview: “Arkan was lost near the Pepsi factory, after ISIS militants shot at families trying to flee. Some of those displaced said that he was shot in the stomach, but his body is yet to be found".

His uncle added: “We visited all the hospitals and military medical centres but Arkan’s body is still not found, and we are unaware of his fate. He was his parent’s only son along with two sisters who survived the same attack".

Arkan Al Zuhairi, the missing child.

 

A medical source who provides emergency medical care to those fleeing battle zones, said: “Everyday, we hear about the loss of one of two children while escaping with their families from ISIS controlled areas, however, their bodies are rarely found. The parents try to search for their children but give up after they sense that no one is willing to help them".
Rasul Amer (3 yrs old), was lost int eh aftermath of an explosion caused by an IED (improvised explosive device) while he was with his family in Al Intissar neighborhood. The IED killed his father, sister, and brother, while his fate remains unknown.
A soldier in the ranks of the 9th Group in the Iraqi Army stated in an interview with the IOHR near Al Zanjili area, that last Sunday, he was able to save a young girl from Al Zanjili area when she was standing next to a combat area between ISIS and the Iraqi Army.

He added that he delivered the young girl to the officers in charge, and went back to combat. He does not know the fate of the girl he saved, but he was told that she had lost her family on their escape from ISIS territory.

IOHE states that the number of children lost during battles is estimated to be around 50, according to the information gathered from parents and persons who took it upon themselves to search for those missing children.

Sheikh Adnan, village headman in Salahadin province, stated in an interview with IOHR: It has been over a month since 6 children arrived to our house in Tikrit after ISIS executed their parents. My wife and I take care of them and help some of the parents in the area".

He added: “The oldest is a 12-year old girl, who needs urgent medical attention as she is cancer patient, and no medical treatment is available for her at the hospital in Tikrit. Doctors supervising her case have stated that she must be moved to Erbil or Kirkuk for treatment, which requires a lot of.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights demands that the Iraqi Government abides by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC 1989), of which Article 38 (4) states: “In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict".

IOHR further stresses that Article 39 of the CRC (1989) states that: “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child".

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