syria

Syria's former ambassador to Iraq, who defected last week, has begun talking to the press.

In an interview with CNN, Nawaf Fares said he supported military intervention in the country because the regime of President Bashar Assad "will only go by force."

CNN's Ivan Watson asked Fares if he wanted to send a message to Assad.

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.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Across the border in Syrian, reports of clashes between the army and rebels overnight in a neighborhood in Damascus. It was some of the heaviest fighting so far in the capital, according to residents and activists who say the army for the first time bombarded one neighborhood with mortars.

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.

Red Cross Declares Civil War In Syria

Jul 15, 2012

The conflict in Syria has now reached the level of civil war, the Red Cross announced Sunday.

The declaration means international humanitarian law now applies throughout the country, and is the responsibility of all parties, whether rebel or government.

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.

United Nations observers have entered the Syrian town of Tremseh to investigate an attack reported to be the bloodiest so far since the uprising against President Bashar Assad.

The details of the incident are unclear, as The Associated Press reports:

Can Newest Peace Plan For Syria Succeed?

Jul 9, 2012

Transcript

MARIA HINOJOSA, HOST:

I'm Maria Hinojosa and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the band, Brownout, is trying to bring Tejano Latin funk to the U.S. mainstream. We'll sit down with them and hear some music. That's just ahead.