1.3 million children displaced by Iraq’s war with Daesh - UNICEF

Displaced children stand in line to get food at the Hammam Al-Alil camp for internally displaced people south of Mosul. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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1.3 million children displaced by Iraq’s war with Daesh - UNICEF

GENEVA: About half the 2.6 million people displaced in Iraq after a three-year war with Daesh militants are children and persisting violence hampers efforts to ease their suffering, the United Nations said on Friday.
While the Baghdad government last month declared victory over Daesh after wresting back almost all the territory seized by the group in 2014, persistent bombing and shooting attacks make it difficult to rebuild the lives of displaced people, according to UNICEF, the UN children’s agency.
“We believe that as a result of the conflict, a lack of investment over the years, and the poverty ... that there are 4 million children now in need across Iraq,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF chief representative in the country.
He told a Geneva news briefing by telephone from Baghdad that 1.3 million of the 2.6 million displaced by the often devastating fighting with Daesh were children.
“While the fighting has come to an end in several areas, spikes of violence continue in others — just this week, three bombings went off in Baghdad,” UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere said in a statement.
“Violence is not only killing and maiming children; it is destroying schools, hospitals, homes and roads. It is tearing apart the diverse social fabric and the culture of tolerance that hold communities together.”
Hawkins said UNICEF was also helping children of alleged Daesh militants now in detention by providing comfort and legal aid, and is trying to reunite those separated from their families, including those abroad.
The issue of civilians uprooted from Sunni Muslim areas previously under control of Daesh militants has become the latest bone of sectarian-tinged political contention in Iraq.
Sunni politicians are lobbying for postponing parliamentary elections due in May to allow the displaced to return to their hometowns to cast their ballots there.
Shiite Muslim politicians including Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi insist on the vote taking place as planned on May 12.
The United States called on Thursday for the elections to be held on time, saying that delaying them “set a dangerous precedent, undermining the constitution and damaging Iraq’s long-term democratic development.”


Daesh Syria attack kills 16, including 4 US soldiers

Updated 15 min 57 sec ago
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Daesh Syria attack kills 16, including 4 US soldiers

  • Attack comes after Trump vowed to pull out US troops after defeating Daesh

BEIRUT: A blast struck near a US-led coalition patrol in Syria’s northern city of Manbij on Wednesday killing 16 people including four Americans.

A U.S. official told Reuters that the number of American casualties had risen.

A Daesh-affiliated website said an attacker with an explosive vest had struck a foreign military patrol in a suicide attack.
The attack come after Donald Trump last month made a surprise announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria after concluding Daesh had been defeated there.

The announcement rattled allies in the region and top US officials, including Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis who quit.
Manbij has been held by US-backed fighters allied to the Kurdish YPG militia since they took it from Daesh in 2016. It is located near areas held by Russian-backed Syrian government forces and by anti-Assad fighters backed by Turkey.
One witness told Reuters there was a “heavy” presence of military aircraft over Manbij following the blast, which took place near a vegetable market.