Fallujah is a Sunni-populated city in Anbar province, Iraq, in which the Iraqi army is laying siege to communities controlled by Daesh religious extremists.
"At least 20,000 children remain trapped in the city. According to reports, food and medicine are running out and clean water is in short supply. Children face the risk of forced recruitment into the fighting, strict procedures for security screening and separation from their families. Children who are recruited see their lives and futures jeopardized as they are forced to carry and use arms, fighting in an adult war," UNICEF said in the statement.
The organization called on "all parties to protect children inside Fallujah, provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city and grant safe and secure environments to displaced civilians."
On May 28, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) received reports on casualties caused by militants' heavy shelling of Falluja. Hundreds of families were also reported to have been used as human shields by Daesh, which has been outlawed in Russia and numerous other countries.