At least half of the 9.5 million people displaced by the Syrian civil war are children. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, says protecting them should be a priority for the international community. (Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year things are just getting worse, and often, it's the children who are suffering the most.

Nine and a half million people have been uprooted by the Syrian civil war, according to the United Nations. That’s about 40 percent of Syria’s pre-war population. About 3 million have fled to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, while six and a half million are internally displaced within the borders of their own country. At least half of the Syrians displaced are children.

Humanitarian aid organizations like Save the Children, the United Nations Children's Fund and others warn that a forced migration of this scale and speed will have a devastating long-term impact on Syrian children and could result in what they are calling a "Lost Generation."

The United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, is urging the international community to share the burden of Syria’s tragedy by supporting programs to protect children from child labor, early marriage and begging.

"A lost generation would be terrible for the people themselves but it would be a terrible loss for Syria and for the region," he said.