The United Nations is urging combatants in Fallujah to protect civilians escaping the fighting as Iraqi forces shelled ISIL targets around the besieged Iraqi city.
Government troops are ramping up an assault to retake ISIL stronghold just west of the capital Baghdad, Reuters reports.
Earlier, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said a number of women and children had died while trying to leave Fallujah.More than 80 families had managed to escape since May 20, it said in a statement. In New York, a spokesman for the world body issued a public plea on behalf of the nearly 50,000 civilians still in Fallujah.
“We’re calling on all parties to the conflict to take all measures to protect civilians caught in the middle and That includes allowing civilians to freely move out of conflict zones and being provided with protection as they disperse.” Farhan Haq told reporters.
He said the U.N has long wanted the international community to join forces and stop the crimes of ISIL but that must not be done at the expense of innocent civilians.