Every time some news source writes something like "the soldiers were shooting women and children" it makes me suspicious. All kinds of questions arise:
- Are they talking about civilian women and children, or combatant women and children? Or both?
- If they are talking about civilian women and children, what has happened to the civilian men?
Yes, I do realize that sometimes the journalists just see soldiers (or whoever) shoot some women and children and simply don't know anything else about the situation, but in general the use of "women and children" in this context smells either of "well, some of the combatants of the other side were female and/or underage, why don't we call them women and children to create the impression that the soldiers were killing unarmed civilians" or "the soldiers had already killed the civilian men the day before, but who cares".