Sherman Oaks Couple Works to Help Children in War-Torn Syria - NBC Southern California
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Sherman Oaks Couple Works to Help Children in War-Torn Syria

"As a mother, you have to do [something] because you understand that what separates my children from the children in Syria is just luck"

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    A Sherman Oaks couple is using their skills to try and ship medical supplies into war-torn Syria. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (Published Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018)

    Phil and Tamar Koosed, of Sherman Oaks, were shaken after seeing videos showing the horrors of war facing Syrian civilians and the struggle of doctors to save lives as bombs rained down upon the country.

    As the civil war in Syria rages on for a seventh year, more than 200,000 children are trapped in cities under siege. The Kooseds, however, are trying to help by sending them medical aid via an underground supply network.

    "Who doesn't want to save a child going through something as horrific as that?" asked Phil Koosed.

    The couple says the war in Syria reminds them of their own painful family history: their Jewish relatives survived the Holocaust. "Jews should never let a holocaust happen again, but it's happening in Syria," Tamar Koosed said.

    Phil Koosed, who handles supply chains for Fortune 500 companies, and Tamar Koosed, who works in international development, knew government agencies and large international charities had pulled out of Syria after their aid convoys were bombed. But despite that, the couple decided to use their skills to try and ship medical supplies into the country. So, from their home, they formed their own charity.

    Working with their neighborhood temple, they set up a renegade underground network called Save the Syrian Children. They work with suppliers in China and gather donations at their home.

    "Once we provided the platform to help, everyone pitched in," Tamar Koosed said. "So that one 40-foot container has now become 21 shipments."

    The Kooseds' charity uses Syrian volunteers to transport the aid from Turkey and Israel across the border to secret warehouses inside Syria. "Because of the fact we are small and nimble," Phil Koosed said, "we're able to do relatively big things."

    Each day they call their team of doctors in Syria using encrypted phone messaging systems to get the latest updates on bombing raids. Over the phone, Koosed learns that someone bombed a blood bank.

    But the Kooseds say each new report of more violence only strengthens their resolve.

    "As a mother, you have to do [something] because you understand that what separates my children from the children in Syria is just luck," Tamar Koosed said. "We're so blessed and fortunate to be in a safe country, and those children in Syria just weren't so fortunate. That's it. They didn't do anything wrong; they were just born in a very dangerous place."

    And so, as the war rages on, the Kooseds continue their mission to help those children living in that very dangerous place.

    Anyone wishing to help them on that mission can do so by donating at savethesyrianchildren.org.

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