The moment an Iraqi girl was reunited with her family after she was kidnapped by the self-styled Islamic State (Isis) terror group has been captured on video. Christina Abada was reportedly just three-years-old when she was taken from her family in northern Iraq in August 2014.
Abada, now aged five, was released by Iraqi Special Forces in west Mosul. Her parents, from Qaraqosh, are reportedly Christian. The heartwarming embrace is shown in emotional scenes as she hugs a family member. She then plays with toys and is taken up on the shoulders of a relation as music is played.
United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has estimated that 85,000 children are trapped in the fight between Iraqi forces and Isis in western Mosul, cut off from humanitarian aid for the past seven months and with limited access to medical care.
"Violence is crippling health systems in conflict-affected countries and threatens children's very survival," said Geert Cappelaere, Unicef Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
"Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, countless children are dying in silence from diseases that could easily be prevented and treated."
Around 750,000 civilians have fled Isis-controlled areas since the Iraqi Army's operations to recapture Mosul began, the UN has said. The organisation said earlier in May that another 200,000 people could be displaced by the conflict as military operations move closer to Mosul's Old City area.
Iraqi troops have been fighting to retake control of the western part of the city since 19 February. Isis has been controlling swathes of Iraq and Syria, including Mosul since the summer of 2014.
Elsewhere, the Iraqi government is reportedly investigating allegations its army used white phosphorus in areas controlled by Isis in Mosul. A Kurdish TV station captured an explosion as it was live streaming on Saturday ( 3 June).
The footage showed white smoke which typically follows a white phosphorus explosion. "[We] cannot deny nor confirm – we are investigating into this news and will come up with a statement to clear things up for the public," a spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defence said.
Lukman Faily, the former Iraqi ambassador to the US, has warned that the presence of Isis in Mosul has created a new generation of young supporters.
"Governing Iraq after liberation will be the real acid test of Iraqi leadership, especially with the recognition that the state is being weakened from within. The liberation of Mosul must be the start of the nation's recovery, otherwise, warlords, camouflaged by different names and fronts, will prevail," he wrote for Newsweek.
"It is important to remember that the presence of ISIS militants in Mosul created a new generation of young supporters, here it is necessary to admit that a new mutation of the group will be no less evil and acts of terrorism will continue, as we saw in the recent bombing attack at the Karada ice cream parlor.
"The threat has the potential to move inside cities, as well as some areas that remain outside the state's authority. Let us not allow the liberation of Mosul be a stop-gap before the next wave of extremism."