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.
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.
The Red Cross announced Sunday that the conflict in Syria has now reached the level of civil war. The declaration means international humanitarian law now applies throughout the country, and is the responsibility of all parties, whether rebel or government.
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.
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.
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.