UNICEF: 40,000 Children at Risk in Syria's Raqqa

UNICEF: 40,000 Children at Risk in Syria's RaqqaUNICEF: 40,000 Children at Risk in Syria's Raqqa

The United Nation's children agency warned on Friday that the fight for the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group's stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria is threatening the lives of more than 40,000 children, as overnight airstrikes on the city claimed the lives of more than a dozen people.

UNICEF said in a statement that the violence has resulted in massive displacement in and around the city, with some 80,000 children now internally displaced and living in temporary shelters and camps, AP reported.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces launched their attack on Raqqa earlier this week and US-led coalition airstrikes have intensified since then.

"An estimated 40,000 children remain trapped in extremely dangerous conditions in Raqqa. Many are caught in the crossfire," said UNICEF regional director, Geert Cappelaere. He called on all parties to provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than 25 airstrikes overnight on Raqqa, saying they killed 17 people, including 12 who were killed at an Internet cafe. It said one of those killed was an activist with the group.

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