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Towson-Based Humanitarian Group Providing Relief to Syria

Updated: Tuesday, September 17 2013, 01:53 PM EDT

While Washington lawmakers debate the future of Syria, a Towson-based humanitarian aid group is dealing with the realities of that conflict.

Though the International Red Cross is having trouble reaching Syrians in some of the most dangerous regions, locally based International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has unprecedented access and is delivering aid in those areas now.

From his office in Towson, Mark O'Hanian shares photos of Syrians waiting for help. His organization is getting through with food and other essentials in Western Syria, an area in which the Red Cross has had trouble in providing aid. IOCC is delivering essentials such as blankets, stoves, kitchen utensils and mattresses. It has been delivering aid to regions of Syria for more than a decade and already had a delivery system in place.

Right now IOCC is delivering supplies to 11 of the 14 Syrian regions, and while O'Hanian wants to leave politics to the politicians, humanitarians worry about Syria's future.

"You cannot deal with fire," O'Hanian said. “With more fire it will generate more need more crisis…more humanitarian catastrophe. We have enough on our hands as it is."

Another perspective: Maryland has almost six million people while in Syria, seven million people have lost their homes and are now considered refugees.

Towson-Based Humanitarian Group Providing Relief to Syria


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