Deborah Amos

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Amos travels extensively across the Middle East covering a range of stories including the rise of well-educated Syria youth who are unqualified for jobs in a market-drive economy, a series focusing on the emerging power of Turkey and the plight of Iraqi refugees.

In 2009, Amos won the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and in 2010 was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award by Washington State University. Amos was part of a team of reporters who won a 2004 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. A Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1991-1992, Amos was returned to Harvard in 2010 as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

In 2003, Amos returned to NPR after a decade in television news, including ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline.

When Amos first came to NPR in 1977, she worked first as a director and then a producer for Weekend All Things Considered until 1979. For the next six years, she worked on radio documentaries, which won her several significant honors. In 1982, Amos received the Prix Italia, the Ohio State Award, and a DuPont-Columbia Award for "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown" and in 1984 she received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "Refugees."

From 1985 until 1993, Amos spend most of her time at NPR reporting overseas, including as the London Bureau Chief and as an NPR foreign correspondent based in Amman, Jordan. During that time, Amos won several awards, including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a Break thru Award, and widespread recognition for her coverage of the Gulf War in 1991.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Amos is also the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (Public Affairs, 2010) and Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (Simon and Schuster, 1992).

Amos began her career after receiving a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

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2:28am

Mon August 27, 2012
Middle East

In Distressed Syria, Urban And Rural Cultures At Odds

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 10:31 pm

Syrian children, who fled their home with their family, take refuge at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey on Sunday.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

After a month-long offensive in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, rebels are struggling under a fierce counter offensive by the Syrian military and the outcome is far from clear. But the future of Aleppo, the country's financial hub, is already under discussion in secret meetings on the Turkish border.

Over cups of sweat tea in a Turkish border hotel, Moeihmen Abdul Rahman, a lawyer from Aleppo, sits down for his first meeting with Abu Riad, a commander from the Al Tawheed brigade, a coalition of rebel militias leading the assault on Aleppo.

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4:32pm

Wed August 22, 2012
Middle East

As Fighting Rages, A Prisoner Swap In Syria

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:59 pm

The daily fighting in Syria included this gun battle Wednesday involving rebels in the northern city of Aleppo. Still, the rival sides recently worked out a prisoner swap in which two women were freed from state custody, while the rebels released seven pro-government fighters.
James Lawler Duggan AFP/Getty Images

The bitter fighting in Syria seems to grow worse by the day, yet the rebels and the government do occasionally manage to work out something that requires each side to trust the other: prisoner swaps.

In one recent exchange, two women held by the government were freed in exchange for seven men who were fighting on behalf President Bashar Assad's regime.

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11:41am

Mon August 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Walking Into Syria: A Reporter's Visit To Where Rebels Are 'Running The Show'

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 12:02 pm

Syrians fleeing increased violence arriving last week at the border between the Syrian town of Azaz and the neighboring Turkish town of Kilis.
Phil Moore AFP/Getty Images

Getting into Syria has been a journalistic obsession since anti-regime protests began there in March 2011. The choices have been risky or next to impossible. The Syrian regime has given out few journalists' visas (full disclosure, I got a legal visa to Syria in June).

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3:30am

Mon August 20, 2012
Middle East

Syrian Refugees Burden Neighboring Turkey

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 12:50 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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6:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Middle East

In Syria, An Urgent Effort To Organize Rebels

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 8:47 pm

Members of the group Hamza Abdualmuttalib trained this week near the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

The battle for Syria appears to have reached a decisive stage. Tanks are on the streets of Damascus as civilians flee the city, and rebels have seized outposts on the borders with Turkey and Iraq.

The opposition has shown a surprising military capability over the past few days. As fighting intensifies in the Syrian capital, there's an urgent push under way to organize the rebel force.

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3:39pm

Mon July 16, 2012
Middle East

A Syrian Defector Confronts A Sectarian Divide

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 7:16 pm

Syria's ongoing fighting is increasingly a sectarian conflict with the majority Sunni Muslims facing off against the Alawites who make up most of the country's ruling elite. Here, government opponents rally in the northern town of Mareh on June 29.
Vedat Xhymshit AFP/Getty Images

The violence in Syria is increasingly being called a civil war, and it can also be called a sectarian war, because much of the fighting pits the majority Sunni Muslims against the minority Alawites who make up much of the country's leadership.

Yet not everyone fits neatly into a category. There are some Alawites who have joined the uprising.

One 30-year-old Alawite man, who doesn't want his name revealed, is nervous as he lights another cigarette and tells the story of how he came to side with the opposition and turned his back on the Alawite rulers.

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2:09am

Thu July 12, 2012
Middle East

For Syrian-American Doctors, A Painful Homecoming

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 7:30 pm

Dr. Yahya Abdul Rahim (left) and Dr. Ammar Ghanem are among the Syrian-American doctors who have come to the Turkish-Syrian border to help Syrians wounded in the anti-government revolt. Some work to improve the flow of supplies; others treat patients in Turkey; still others, like Ghanem, strap backpacks on and walk across the border to help those in Syria.
Deborah Amos NPR

The Turkish border is a key link for the revolt in neighboring Syria. Turkish ambulances are stationed at border crossings to cope with the flood of injured Syrians, often as many as 30 a day. And now, Syrian-American doctors are volunteering in a humanitarian effort to help the wounded and to bring crucial medicines for field hospitals inside Syria.

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2:57pm

Tue July 10, 2012
Middle East

Syrian Rebels Carve Buffer Zone Near Turkish Border

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 6:34 pm

More than 35,000 Syrians have sought shelter in Turkey. Most of the refugees at the Kilis refugee camp in southern Turkey are women and children.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

At this isolated part of the Turkish border, there's just one Turkish guard, a fence and, beyond an olive grove, Syria.

The Syrian side is just a short walk, perhaps 10 minutes. The area looks completely calm and there is no sign of the Syrian military.

Abu Amar, a rebel who has fought in Syria for five weeks, walked across this field from the Syrian village of Atma, which is now serving as a rebel headquarters. He says much of the northwestern province of Idlib is now controlled by the rebels, and it has become easy to move back and forth between Syria and Turkey here.

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2:01am

Mon July 9, 2012
Middle East

Across Continents, Syrian Family Seeks Assad's Ouster

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 4:28 am

Syrian activist Karam Nachar is pursuing a doctorate in Middle Eastern history at Princeton. His family is working on several fronts against the Syrian regime. His father, who has been jailed previously, helped form the Syrian National Council, an organization of dissidents.
Ozier Muhammad The New York Times

The Nachar family has long been on the radar of the Syrian government, and since last year, they have become even more visible.

When Syrians first started openly protesting inside the country in the spring of 2011, 29-year-old Syrian Karam Nachar was working on his doctorate in Middle East history at Princeton University. He joined demonstrations outside U.N. headquarters in New York.

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2:17am

Thu June 28, 2012
Middle East

In A Syrian Souk, Support For The Regime Falters

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 7:25 pm

People walk through Hamidiyah market in Damascus, Syria, Feb. 28. The merchants of this landmark bazaar were once ardent supporters of President Bashar Assad. That's no longer the case.
Bassem Tellawi AP

In Syria's capital, Damascus, the Hamidiyah souk is a landmark — a centuries-old covered market linked to a maze of alleyways in the heart of the capital. Over the 15-month uprising, Syria's merchants have supported the regime of President Bashar Assad. But that support is crumbling.

Shops selling everything from cold drinks, ice cream and spices to wedding dresses and electric guitars line Hamidiyah's cobblestone streets.

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12:53pm

Tue June 26, 2012
Middle East

Syrian Youth Lead Rebellion, And Teach Their Elders

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 8:06 pm

A Syrian youth flashes the victory sign as he stands in front of a building that was covered with anti-government graffiti — though local authorities painted over it — in the town of Duma, outside Damascus, in February.
AFP/Getty Images

The uprising in Syria began in the spring of 2011 when rebellious teenagers scrawled anti-regime graffiti on a wall in the southern city of Daraa.

The protest against their arrest, and the regime's brutal response, sparked the wider revolt. Throughout the unrest, the country's younger generation has been at the forefront of efforts to end the repressive regime of President Bashar Assad.

At a cafe in the heart of Damascus recently, a young man flips open his cellphone to show pictures of people killed in the uprising.

"Actually, they are my friends," he says.

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5:10am

Sun June 24, 2012
Middle East

Syrians Now Willing To Talk, But No Names, Please

President Bashar Assad addresses Parliament on June 3. Syrians in the capital, Damascus, have become more willing to speak out, though they still don't want to be identified by name. Many feel the Assad regime is losing control of parts of the country.
Anonymous SANA/AP

In Damascus, Syrians now openly speak their minds, but often won't offer a name for the record.

The "wall of fear" is crumbling even in the capital, where the security police have the heaviest presence. Syrians have lived under surveillance and emergency law for years, but after 15 months of anti-government protest and a brutal response by the regime, the killings have changed people.

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3:58am

Tue June 19, 2012
Middle East

More Civilians Joining Syria's Rebel Movement

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 8:48 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

The opposition in Syria is increasingly taking up arms. They've been devastated by months of assaults by government troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad

WERTHEIMER: The army offensive to crush the rebels has been so ferocious that a U.N. monitoring mission was suspended. But we're about to hear the sounds of the rebels fighting back.

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12:38pm

Mon June 18, 2012
Middle East

After 30 Years In Syria, Outspoken Priest Is Expelled

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 10:05 pm

The Italian Jesuit priest Paolo Dall'Oglio, shown here at the Syrian Maronite monastery of Deir Mar Musa in 2007, lived in Syria for 30 years before he was expelled Saturday. Dall'Oglio has spoken out in support of protesters who oppose President Bashar Assad.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Syria has expelled an Italian Jesuit priest for his outspoken criticism of the government's crackdown on a popular uprising. The Rev. Paolo Dall'Oglio has lived in Syria for 30 years, helping to restore a 1,000-year-old monastery that became a center for Muslim and Christian understanding.

Dall'Oglio's departure from Damascus on Saturday was sudden. More than a year ago, the government ordered him out, but a campaign on Facebook — "No to the Exile of Father Paolo" — delayed his expulsion.

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7:36am

Fri June 15, 2012
Middle East

U.N. Sees 'Lack Of Willingness' For Peace In Syria

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 9:56 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

After a week of escalating violence in Syria, the chief U.N. official there in the country said today that efforts to resolve the conflict have had little effect. It was a bleak assessment from the man leading the United Nations observer mission for the past six months. NPR's Deborah Amos joins us from Damascus, where she has been out with observers assessing the situation.

And Deb, what was the message today from Major General Robert Mood?

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