Deborah Amos http://iowapublicradio.org en Syria's Army On The Verge Of Retaking The Country's Largest City http://iowapublicradio.org/post/syrias-army-verge-retaking-countrys-largest-city When Syria's rebels were on the offensive in 2012, they captured the eastern half of Aleppo and the surrounding countryside. But now President Bashar Assad's troops are poised to retake all of the city that is the largest in Syria and served as the prewar financial capital.<p>A new military campaign is heating up as Assad, who assumed power when his father, Hafez Assad, died in 2000, was sworn in Wednesday for his third term as president. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 19:06:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 43844 at http://iowapublicradio.org Syria's Army On The Verge Of Retaking The Country's Largest City In Defiance of Damascus, Aid Goes Cross-Border To Rebel-Held Areas http://iowapublicradio.org/post/defiance-damascus-aid-goes-cross-border-rebel-held-areas The warehouse off a dusty back road near the Turkish frontier is vast. Large wooden crates are stacked and ready for delivery to the desperate and displaced inside Syria.<p>This is the operations hub for Mercy Corps, a U.S.-based charity, and one of the largest aid providers to civilians in rebel-held areas in northern Syria. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:59:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 43708 at http://iowapublicradio.org In Defiance of Damascus, Aid Goes Cross-Border To Rebel-Held Areas Have The Islamist Militants Overreached In Iraq And Syria? http://iowapublicradio.org/post/have-islamist-militants-overreached-iraq-and-syria The Islamist radicals who have declared an Islamic caliphate on land they control straddling Iraq and Syria are waging an audacious publicity stunt, according to some analysts.<p>While it may bring them even greater attention, it's also likely to be an overreach that will open rifts with its current partners, the Sunni Muslims in Iraq who welcomed the militant group in early June. Sat, 05 Jul 2014 09:14:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 43257 at http://iowapublicradio.org Have The Islamist Militants Overreached In Iraq And Syria? Emerging Alliances In Mosul Raise Tensions And Complications http://iowapublicradio.org/post/secular-and-socialist-sunnis-ally-extremists-mosul Sunni militants were originally welcomed when they rolled into the Iraqi city of Mosul, but now there's a power struggle between the local tribes, Sunnis and Saddam Hussein's former Baathist party. Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:12:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 42962 at http://iowapublicradio.org For Iraqi Christians, Return To Captured City Is A Fraught Mandate http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iraqi-christians-return-captured-city-fraught-mandate Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Mosul is northern Iraq's largest city and the takeover by ISIS has prompted an exodus of the last remaining Iraqi Christians there. The seizure raised fears that a thousand years of Christian culture would vanish. But in recent days, some Christian families have returned to Mosul and surrounding villages. And soon they'll be joined by the Archbishop of the Chaldean Church. NPR's Deborah Amos caught up with him in nearby Erbil.<p>DEBORAH AMOS, BYLINE: The Christian exodus from Mosul weighs heavily on Archbishop Amil Nona. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 20:30:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 42913 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iraq's Ethnic Kurds See Opportunity In Nation's Chaos http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iraqs-ethnic-kurds-see-opportunity-nations-chaos Iraq is in chaos, but the country's ethnic Kurds might come out ahead.<p>They rule a semi-autonomous area in the north that is fairly prosperous and safe, and as the Iraqi army crumbled before militants this month, Kurdish forces moved in to take long-sought areas that had been under the central government in Baghdad.<p>The Kurds are now talking about their generations-old dream of independence, but they still face many dangers.<p>On a recent hot summer night in Erbil, Iraq's fourth largest city, many Kurds were more focused on the World Cup, the new Miss Kurdistan named this week and the fina Fri, 27 Jun 2014 07:36:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 42878 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iraq's Ethnic Kurds See Opportunity In Nation's Chaos At Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery, Siege Nears A Complicated Conclusion http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iraqs-largest-oil-refinery-siege-nears-complicated-conclusion Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. The U.N. says today that at least 1,000 people - mostly civilians - have died this month in Iraq as the fighting there goes on. A key battle is centered on the country's largest oil refinery, located in the town of Baiji. It's been under siege by the Islamist militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. ISIS now claims to have captured the refinery. The government denies that, saying reinforcements are on the way. The truth is more complicated. Tue, 24 Jun 2014 20:15:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 42725 at http://iowapublicradio.org After Mosul's Fall, Iraqis Adjust To New Normal Under ISIS http://iowapublicradio.org/post/after-mosuls-fall-iraqis-adjust-new-normal-under-isis Not all Sunnis are on board with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, even if they oppose the Iraqi government. One ranking Sunni cleric in northern Iraq calls ISIS "scum" and hints at limits to the group's influence. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmac=UA-5828686-4&utmdt=After+Mosul%27s+Fall%2C+Iraqis+Adjust+To+New+Normal+Under+ISIS&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDEwNzczMDA2MDEzNTg3ODA1MTAzZjYxNg004)"/></div><p>Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:44:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 42561 at http://iowapublicradio.org ISIS Presses Its Advance, Attacking Iraq's Largest Oil Refinery http://iowapublicradio.org/post/isis-presses-its-advance-attacking-iraqs-largest-oil-refinery Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block. Iraq's largest oil refinery is under attack today by Islamist militants, and the Iraqi capital continues to brace for an assault. The militants, led by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have already taken over major cities in the north and west. Iraq's prime minister has appealed for national unity, and he's vowed that government forces will turn the insurgents back. Wed, 18 Jun 2014 20:32:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 42431 at http://iowapublicradio.org Like 'Doctor Who,' Syrian Activists Hang In Limbo Post-Election http://iowapublicradio.org/post/doctor-who-syrian-activists-hang-limbo-post-election A popular, British science-fiction TV show about a time-traveler would seem to have few parallels with the Syrian civil war. Sat, 07 Jun 2014 11:54:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 41871 at http://iowapublicradio.org Like 'Doctor Who,' Syrian Activists Hang In Limbo Post-Election U.S. Policy In Syria Could No Longer Be Defended, Ex-Ambassador Says http://iowapublicradio.org/post/us-policy-syria-could-no-longer-be-defended-ex-ambassador-says Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.<p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>And I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's former point man on Syria resigned because he can no longer defend U.S. policy there. Ambassador Robert Ford was once known for dramatic gestures supporting Syria's opposition. But Ford says, as the uprising became a civil war he was frustrated by limited U.S. support for rebels. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:34:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 41686 at http://iowapublicradio.org What Syria's President Seeks From A Not-So-Democratic Election http://iowapublicradio.org/post/what-syrias-president-seeks-not-so-democratic-election The Turkish border city of Gaziantep becomes more Syrian by the day. New waves of refugees have arrived since January. In the market, Syrian craftsmen hammer out copper pots and plates, as they did back home in Aleppo.<p>"We left to save our children," says Ali Abu Hassan. "The bombs come every day."<p>Back in Syria, President Bashar Assad is universally expected to win in Tuesday's election, a sign to Hassan and his family that they should expect an indefinite stay in Turkey alongside the swelling ranks of refugees. Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:29:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 41590 at http://iowapublicradio.org What Syria's President Seeks From A Not-So-Democratic Election Iranian Activist Says Her Release Is A Gesture, Not A New Era http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iranian-activist-says-her-release-gesture-not-new-era When Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, was <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/18/223792619/iran-frees-political-prisoners">released in September 2013</a> — along with 11 other high-profile political prisoners — many Iranians saw the move as opening a new era following the election of centrist President Hassan Rouhani.<p>He had promised to release political prisoners rounded up after the contested 2009 elections, when thousands of protesters, known as the Green Movement, were tried and jailed.<p>The high-profile gesture came less than a week before Rouh Mon, 05 May 2014 20:02:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 40183 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iranian Activist Says Her Release Is A Gesture, Not A New Era Iran's Culture Wars: Who's Winning These Days? http://iowapublicradio.org/post/irans-culture-wars-whos-winning-these-days In Iran, hardline critics are waging a campaign against President Hassan Rouhani to limit his campaign pledge of opening Iran to more social and cultural freedoms.<p>The "culture wars" are as old as the Islamic revolution that swept conservative clerics to power more than three decades ago. The latest chapter comes as Rouhani is negotiating a nuclear deal with six world powers. Sat, 12 Apr 2014 13:04:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 39024 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iran's Culture Wars: Who's Winning These Days? Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iranians-begin-feel-heavy-burden-syrias-war The Syrian civil war has been a major headache for President Obama. Critics at home and abroad, like Saudi Arabia, where the president was on Friday, have urged the U.S. to do more.<p>But the U.S. isn't the only country that's faced difficult choices over Syria. Iran and Syria have been close allies for decades. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:32:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 38274 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War Viral Photo Of Syrian War Victims Comes To Times Square http://iowapublicradio.org/post/viral-photo-syrian-war-victims-comes-times-square <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLp_2QU1nmY</p> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 20:13:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 37857 at http://iowapublicradio.org A Syrian Refugee Camp With Girl Scouts And A Safeway Store http://iowapublicradio.org/post/syrian-refugee-camp-girl-scouts-and-safeway-store On a sunny afternoon in the dusty, overcrowded Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, a group of Syrian girls recites a familiar pledge and hope to change their future. Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:30:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 37691 at http://iowapublicradio.org A Syrian Refugee Camp With Girl Scouts And A Safeway Store Syrian Conflict Marches Into Fourth Year http://iowapublicradio.org/post/syrian-conflict-marches-third-year The Syrian uprising started three years ago this week with protests and eventually a military crackdown that led to all-out civil war. More than 130,000 people have died. Mon, 17 Mar 2014 09:07:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 37658 at http://iowapublicradio.org Saudi Aid Boost To Syrian Rebels Puts Jordan At Risk http://iowapublicradio.org/post/saudi-aid-boost-syrian-rebels-puts-jordan-risk For months, a military stalemate has defined the war in Syria. Now, a new strategy is emerging as Western allies and Gulf states step up support for rebels in southern Syria.<p>Along Jordan's northern border, Syrian rebels say they are unifying their fractious ranks, urged to unite by Western and Arab intelligence operatives who work in a covert command center in Jordan's capital.<p>Rebel sources confirm pledges of stepped-up deliveries of arms and intelligence sharing. Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:49:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 37634 at http://iowapublicradio.org Saudi Aid Boost To Syrian Rebels Puts Jordan At Risk 'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran http://iowapublicradio.org/post/waiting-godot-strikes-chord-tehran At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.<p>The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended. The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped.<p>Iran is also waiting. It is waiting for the outcome of negotiations with six world powers over the country's nuclear program. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 37545 at http://iowapublicradio.org 'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities http://iowapublicradio.org/post/iranian-women-push-tighten-gender-gap Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. After the decisive vote for Rouhani, a surge of hope in Iran has attracted activists back to the political arena. Iranian women, in particular, are seizing the opportunity.<p>On a recent afternoon in north Tehran, two professional women huddle with an adviser to the Ministry of Mines and Trade. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 08:08:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 37095 at http://iowapublicradio.org Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities What Comes Next In Syria? http://iowapublicradio.org/post/what-comes-next-syria For eight days, the Syrian regime and an opposition delegation sat face-to-face, but were not on speaking terms in Room 16 of the Palais des Nations in the sprawling complex of United Nations headquarters in Geneva.<p>Round one demonstrated the bitter divide with no breakthrough on the core issues of a political transition or access to humanitarian aid.<p>So what comes next?<p>An agreement to continue the talks remains on hold. The opposition delegates pledged to return to the table in early February. Sat, 01 Feb 2014 16:26:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 35662 at http://iowapublicradio.org What Comes Next In Syria? On Different Frequencies, Two Sides Of Syrian Media Clash http://iowapublicradio.org/post/different-frequencies-two-sides-syrian-media-clash Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>The meeting between Syrian government and opposition leaders also brings competing entourages to Geneva. Pro-government reporters and opposition journalists are covering the same events, often in the same room, and it's not pretty. Mon, 27 Jan 2014 21:54:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 35418 at http://iowapublicradio.org During Syrian Peace Talks, Rival Sides Wage A Media Battle http://iowapublicradio.org/post/during-syrian-peace-talks-rival-sides-wage-media-battle Friday was the first day of negotiations at the Syrian peace conference. There were no direct talks, however. Instead, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi shuttled between government and opposition delegations in separate rooms. Fri, 24 Jan 2014 22:22:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 35296 at http://iowapublicradio.org Syrian Peace Talks Open With Bitterness And A Bit Of Hope http://iowapublicradio.org/post/syrian-peace-talks-open-bitterness-and-bit-hope Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block. The Syrian peace conference got off to a bitter start today with sharply opposing visions over a future role for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 21:34:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 35193 at http://iowapublicradio.org Surprise Invitation Lands Syrian Peace Talks In Hot Water http://iowapublicradio.org/post/surprise-invitation-lands-syrian-peace-talks-hot-water The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference is again in turmoil. The U.N. secretary-general's surprise decision to invite Iran to attend the conference prompted a boycott threat from Syria's exiled opposition. At issue is the fact that Iran has not publicly committed to the framework for the conference or pledged to withdraw its troops and allied militias from Syria. Under pressure from the opposition groups and the U.S., the U.N. has since withdrawn its invitation to Iran. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:07:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 35104 at http://iowapublicradio.org Low Hopes, High Stakes For Syria Peace Conference In Geneva http://iowapublicradio.org/post/low-hopes-high-stakes-syria-peace-conference-geneva Can a meeting in Switzerland, known as Geneva-2, solve the crisis in Syria?<p>The expectations are low. The warring parties are reluctant. Some of the most important players, including powerful armed rebel groups, are not on the invitation list.<p>The superpower hosts, the U.S. and Russia, fully back the peace conference, set for Wednesday. They hope to kick-start a political process and end the armed conflict that has ravaged Syria and destabilized the region.<p>More than 40 countries have been invited, including the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 35079 at http://iowapublicradio.org Low Hopes, High Stakes For Syria Peace Conference In Geneva Foreign Fighters Flood Both Sides In Syrian War http://iowapublicradio.org/post/foreign-fighters-flood-both-sides-syrian-war When peace talks open in Switzerland, one common concern between the West and Syria is expected to be the threat of Islamist extremists and the rise of al-Qaida-linked militias. Thousands of Sunni militants from around the world have joined the rebel groups in Syria, but there are other groups of militant foreign fighters who support the Syrian regime. Iraqi Shiites are being recruited in the thousands to bolster Syria's armed forces. Recruiting billboards and social media help portray the fight as an existential battle between Sunnis and Muslims. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 22:15:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 35016 at http://iowapublicradio.org As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City http://iowapublicradio.org/post/rebels-fight-rebels-grim-reports-syrian-city Reports from the Syrian city of Raqqa are dire. In the north-central provincial capital, "the atmosphere has gone from bad to worse," says one activist with a rare link to the Internet. He reports the city is "completely paralyzed," the hospital is abandoned, and there are bodies in the central square. There is no power or water for a city of more than half a million people. Even the critical bread ovens are shut.<p>The appalling description from Raqqa is just one scene from a new phase in the Syrian war. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:10:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 34600 at http://iowapublicradio.org As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City Syria's War Creates A Demand For Artificial Legs http://iowapublicradio.org/post/syrias-war-creates-market-artificial-legs In a clinic in southern Turkey, Mohammed Ibrahim helps 23-year-old Syrian Mustapha Abu Bakr take his first steps since he lost his legs, holding on to a set of bars for balance.<p>"He can't express his feelings," Ibrahim says. "It's a new thing completely for him."<p>Ibrahim explains that patients who have lost a leg below the knee can walk out of the clinic without crutches after a day of practice. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:21:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 34064 at http://iowapublicradio.org Syria's War Creates A Demand For Artificial Legs