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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Middle East
4:32 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

As Fighting Rages, A Prisoner Swap In Syria

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

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

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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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Mon August 20, 2012

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

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

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

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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Middle East
6:35 am
Sat July 21, 2012

In Syria, An Urgent Effort To Organize Rebels

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

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

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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Middle East
4:03 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

A Syrian Defector Confronts A Sectarian Divide

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

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

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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NPR Story
4:03 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

Conflicting Tales In Latest Syrian Violence

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 5:10 pm

Although videos posted by Syrian activists show dozens of people buried in a mass grave in the village of Tremseh, Syria has rejected claims made by the United Nations that it used heavy weapons in the attack alleged to have taken place on Thursday. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with NPR's Deborah Amos who is watching the story from Turkey.

Middle East
6:22 am
Sun July 15, 2012

U.N. Tries To Reconcile Accounts Of Killings In Syria

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 10:11 am

U.N. investigators visited the site of a mass killing in Syria. Their initial report cites a targeted attack on the village of Tremseh, but have been unable to confirm the death toll. The Syrian government says it was an anti-terrorist operation and no civilians were killed. Guest host David Greene talks to NPR's Deborah Amos.

Middle East
2:09 am
Thu July 12, 2012

For Syrian-American Doctors, A Painful Homecoming

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

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

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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Middle East
2:57 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Syrian Rebels Carve Buffer Zone Near Turkish Border

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

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

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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Middle East
2:01 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Across Continents, Syrian Family Seeks Assad's Ouster

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

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

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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Middle East
2:17 am
Thu June 28, 2012

In A Syrian Souk, Support For The Regime Falters

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

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

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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