Ada charity helping Syrians amid Turkish assault

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan charity working in Syria has switched its efforts from development to relief.

This as the UN Refugee Agency says tens of thousands of civilians in the country are now seeking safety amid a Turkish offensive. The U.S. has withdrawn troops from the affected regions.

Partners Relief and Development founder and president Steve Gumaer told News 8 Thursday that he and his colleagues didn’t expect the attacks to unfold as quickly and with as much violence as they have. The team in Syria says more than 100,000 people have already been displaced.

“Today our team is traveling to some of the affected cities with supplies, mostly blankets, so that the people who are fleeing can be warm through the night. And also they have vehicles to transport people who are on foot,” Gumaer said in a Skype interview from across the state.

He said it was going to be an important day to decide how Partners Relief and Development will respond to the crisis on a larger scale.

His Ada-based charity, which for years has been working in the nation plagued by civil war and Islamic State militants, has been able to reopen six schools serving more than 2,000 children. The organization has also built two medical clinics.

Partners Relief and Development relies on donations, which can be made online.

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