Mosul's orphans facing unknown fate

Scores of children have lost their parents
Abdallah, Mariam and Rahma are younger than 1 year old and their identities are unknown. They were rescued from the rubble as Iraqi forces battled to wrest control of Mosul's old city from Islamic State militants. The three toddlers were given names at the orphanage where tens of children left orphaned by the 9-month-long war to end IS's con­trol of Iraq's second-largest city are harbored.

"Scores of children have lost their parents in the intense bombard­ment or in booby traps and suicide bombings perpetrated by ISIS. We have given them names to facilitate sorting them out until we can estab­lish their identity and trace their kin to hand them over," said Sukaina Mohamad Ali, the head of the Office of Women and Children in Nineveh province.

Ali, who also runs the biggest or­phanage in Mosul, said the organi­zation received children found by Iraqi forces in the debris and near dead bodies. "Most of them had no ID, so we don't know who they are," she said. "They were in a very pre­carious state suffering from malnu­trition and thirst."

Among Mosul's orphans, many are the children of foreign and lo­cal IS fighters killed in battle. "We don't know their exact number be­cause they are dispersed in several refugee camps but there are at least 600 of them staying in Hammam al Alil camp," Ali said.


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