COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Accusations are escalating in Ohio’s Democratic primary for governor over former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s work with an organization sympathetic to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Kucinich lashed out Wednesday against former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, a supporter of rival candidate Richard Cordray, for "unfounded and inflammatory" attacks that "grossly misportrayed" two Lebanese Christian donors who he said now fear for their safety.

Elie and Bassam Khawam helped facilitate Kucinich’s 2017 trip to London to speak at what he characterizes as a peace conference.

Strickland last week said Kucinich was associating with "the most despicable people imaginable."

He criticized Kucinich for accepting and initially failing to report a $20,000 speaking fee from the pro-Assad the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committee and demanded Kucinich disclose other similar contributions.