WASHINGTON - The estimated four million children born in Syria over the past eight years of the country's conflict are growing up only knowing war, UNICEF said in a press release on Thursday.

"With an estimated 4 million children born in Syria since the conflict started nearly eight years ago, half of the country’s children have grown up only knowing war," the release said.

UNICEF issued the statement after its Executive Director Henrietta Fore paid a five-day visit to the country and toured newly liberated areas that were previously inaccessible. While in Syria, she visited Douma in Eastern Ghouta, Hama and Deraa. Fore noted that children in each of the cities lack basic necessities and need assistance to return to school, receive vaccinations, and also feel safe and protected. UNICEF has scaled up services for children as access has improved in some areas, the release said. But in hard to reach locations, the UN agency is renewing its call for regular and unconditional access, it added.

"Throughout Syria, UNICEF calls for the protection of children at all times and for a stronger emphasis on re-stitching the social fabric ripped apart by years of fighting," the release said.

Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with the government forces fighting against numerous opposition groups and terrorist organizations. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are guarantors of the ceasefire regime in Syria.