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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1:00pm

Tue July 19, 2011
Middle East

Ads Push For A Middle Ground Amid Syrian Conflict

Ammar Alani (left) and Rami Omran created an advertising campaign in Syria with the help of friends in the media business, to call for a middle-ground solution to the ongoing crisis.
Deborah Amos NPR

The uprising in Syria is often described in terms of black or white — you either support the country's leader or you are a revolutionary.

But many residents of Damascus describe themselves as gray people, neither black nor white, and they're struggling to find a voice.

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3:00pm

Fri July 15, 2011
NPR Story

In Syria, Opposition Stages Massive Protests

There were massive opposition protests in towns and cities across Syria Friday, despite an ongoing government crackdown that left at least 19 protesters dead. Hundreds of thousands marched in cities like Deraa, Hama and Homs — all three have been major hubs of the protest movement. But there were also protests and violence in Damascus Friday. The Syrian capital has been comparatively quiet until now.

5:20am

Fri July 15, 2011
Middle East

A Facade Of Normal Life In Syria's Capital

Syrians walk outside the Omayyad Mosque in the old city Damascus in April. Residents are adapting to life amid the s ongoing uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime.
Anwar Armo AFP/Getty Images

Things are slowly returning to a normal life in Damascus. But the foreign tourists are missing as the uprising against President Bashar Assad drags.

4:00am

Tue July 12, 2011
Middle East

U.S.: Syria's Government Orchestrated Attack

U.S. officials accuse the Syrian government of orchestrating Monday's attack on the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Damascus. Supporters of President Bashar Assad scaled the embassy fence, smashed bullet-proof glass and security cameras, and climbed onto the roof. The French Embassy was also targeted.

The assault came three days after a surprise visit by the American and French ambassadors to the city of Hama to show support for peaceful protests there.

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7:38pm

Thu July 7, 2011
Middle East

Syria's Best-Known Dissident Reflects On Uprising

Michel Kilo's book-lined apartment in a Christian neighborhood in Damascus is a quiet contrast to streets where protesters demand an end to Syria's repressive regime.

But Kilo has never been silent, despite years in jail for directly criticizing what he calls a military dictatorship run by one family. At 71, Syria's best-known dissident watches the protest movement that has thrown the country into turmoil and reflects on the failures of his own generation.

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4:00am

Mon July 4, 2011
NPR Story

Syrian Security Forces Kill 2 Anti-Regime Protesters

In Syria, the city of Hama has been the scene of the largest anti-government protests in the country.

Rallies have often been met with armed retaliation by security police. That didn't happen at Friday's mass rally, and the city's governor was fired. There were reports of tanks advancing on the city.

Hama is a sensitive place. Thirty years ago, the Syrian army crushed an Islamist rebellion there, killing tens of thousands.

Now, a new generation is on the streets, demanding democracy.

A Coming Backlash?

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10:00am

Fri July 1, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Government Opposition Stages Major Protests

Protestors march in the streets of Damascus on Friday.
Deborah Amos NPR

Anti-government protests continue across Syria after three more deaths were reported in the north.

10:19am

Thu June 30, 2011
Middle East

Syria's Minorities Fear Sectarian Split Amid Protests

Father Gabriel Daoud is a Syriac Orthodox priest in Damascus. He says his parish is nervous about the growing protest movement and believes it's anti-Christian.
Deborah Amos NPR

In Syria, a four-month protest movement and a government crackdown have strained the country's ethnic and sectarian mix.

The government and military command are dominated by Alawites, a minority sect that is an offshoot of Shia Islam. The protesters are mostly Sunnis and ethnic Kurds.

Syrian officials have warned of sectarian war if the protests continue. That message has spread fear among Syria's minority communities — in particular, Syrian Christians.

Concern About 'The Morning After'

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4:00am

Thu June 30, 2011
Middle East

Syria Permits Vigil For Slain Civilians, Soldiers

Protesters in the Syrian capital Damascus staged a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to press for democratic changes. It was the first officially-sanctioned protest in the capital, and it comes just days after the regime allowed opposition activists to meet at a Damascus hotel.

5:33am

Wed June 29, 2011
Middle East

Syria Insists It's Ready To Embrace Change

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And let's turn now from economic to political reforms. The Syrian government insists it's ready to embrace a move towards democracy - reforms that meet the demands of protestors in the street. After months of demonstrations and cracking down hard on those protesters, a senior Syrian official says the government has gotten the message. This comes just after members of the opposition were able to meet for the first time in an officially-sanctioned gathering.

NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Damascus.

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11:10am

Tue June 28, 2011
The Two-Way

In Syria, Government Lets International Media In To Make Its Case

In the beginning of the uprising in Syria, the government banned the international media. So, every report from the foreign outlets about what was happening carried the warning, "we can not confirm the information" because the media was scrambling to piece together the news from videos produced by the protest movement and government statements coming from Syria state TV.

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6:30am

Mon June 27, 2011
Middle East

Syria Allows Reporters To Travel To 'Massacre' Site

Syria's government has finally allowed a small group of western journalists into the country. They were allowed to travel to Jisr al Shughour, where Syrian officials say armed gangs staged a massacre. More than 300 soldiers and security personnel were killed.

3:00pm

Wed June 22, 2011
Middle East

Syria Faces Pressure From A Reliable Ally

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem lashed out Wednesday at new economic sanctions from Europe, but promised democracy in Syria within months.

In a television address, Moallem accused Europe of playing with fire for imposing a new round of economic sanctions. We will forget that Europe is on the map, he said.

But Moallem also called on Syrian dissidents to come to Damascus for talks. He invited political exiles home and promised constitutional change, adding meat to the bones of President Bashar Assad's speech Monday.

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5:35am

Tue June 21, 2011
Middle East

Syria's Assad Warns Of Dangerous Economic Climate

The official Syrian News Agency (SANA) released a photo showing Syrian President Bashar Assad addressing the nation from Damascus University on Monday.
Ho/SANA AFP/Getty Images

Syria has been hit hard by a protest movement that has disrupted business, farming and trade.

In a speech to the country at Damascus University Monday, President Bashar Assad told his supporters: "The most dangerous thing we face in the coming period is the collapse of the economy."

It's feared financial pressures may be a greater threat than protests.

In normal times, the Lebanese-Syrian border is a busy place. But now, there are hardly any cars, hardly anyone standing in line to cross.

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12:01am

Thu June 16, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Tactics Estrange Media Supporters In Lebanon

After three months of demonstrations in Syria, it is a daily struggle to get an accurate picture of events. The Syrian government has banned most international media, and Syria's state TV presents an official version contradicted by an anti-regime protest movement that bolsters its narrative with video clips and Facebook postings.

In neighboring Lebanon, even news editors supportive of President Bashar Assad's regime say Syria is losing credibility in the media war.

A Lebanese Paper, Close To Syria

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4:00am

Mon June 13, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Troops Regain Control Of Northern Town

Over the weekend, Syrian troops regained control of a town near the border with Turkey. There was heavy fighting reported, and a mass grave was discovered.

4:00am

Fri June 10, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Army Takes Over Town Near Turkish Border

The Syrian army has moved in to restore security. Earlier this week, Syrian officials said 120 security personnel were killed there.

12:01am

Thu June 9, 2011
Middle East

Turkish Border Town Feels Effects Of Syrian Unrest

Mustapha Mutafugulu, who runs a textile factory in Gaziantep, Turkey, says the economic situation in Aleppo, Syria, is difficult.
Deborah Amos NPR

In the open-air restaurants of Gaziantep in southern Turkey, the summer season has begun, but Syrian tourists who flocked here for the past few years are absent. And Turks no longer make the 90-minute drive to Aleppo, Syria's largest northern city for bargain holidays.

At a local trade fair, Syrians came to attract business partners. Ayala Zenio acknowledged Turks are now reluctant to open new deals because of the unrest in Syria, but she insists the coverage in the Western media is wrong.

"It's not so much like the TV show us," she says.

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10:58am

Tue June 7, 2011
The Two-Way

In Syria: 'City Of Ghosts' Waits For Government Forces To Attack

The Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour is in the eye of the storm of a three month protest movement. Syrian security forces used armed helicopters to quell protests there on Friday, according to activists. By Monday, the Syrian government was reporting that 120 members of the security police had been killed by "armed gangs" and was vowing to mount a major military operation int he town.

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6:28am

Tue June 7, 2011
Middle East

Syria: 120 Government Troops Killed By Gunmen

The Syrian government says armed gangs have killed at least 120 government troops in a town near the Turkish border. The fighting could mark a turning point in what has been a largely peaceful uprising. Government officials have vowed to deal with the killings decisively, and activists say many residents are fleeing in anticipation of a major military attack.

4:00am

Thu June 2, 2011
Middle East

Opposition Tries To Define Syria's Political Future

Some 300 Syrian activists are gathered in southern Turkey to chart ways to step up their campaign against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

4:50pm

Wed June 1, 2011
Middle East

Boy's Brutal Death Becomes Rallying Cry For Syrians

In a photo from a Facebook page in memory of Hamza al-Khateeb, an image of 13-year-old Hamza is surrounded by candlelight.

In Syria, the brutal death of a 13-year-old boy has spurred further demonstrations as the uprising there enters a third month.

Syrian protesters now shout the boy's name, Hamza al-Khateeb. He has become a symbol of the victims of the government's crackdown on dissent.

The Syrian government has promised to investigate his death. A video of his mutilated body was so gruesome that YouTube administrators blocked it, but they reinstated the images on Wednesday after a petition from human rights organizations.

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4:00am

Mon April 25, 2011
Middle East

Syria Cracks Down On Demonstrators

Security forces in Syria are cracking down on opponents of President Bashar Assad's regime. Steve Inskeep talks to NPR's Deborah Amos about the latest news out of Syria.

12:01am

Fri April 22, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Activist In Hiding Presses Mission From Abroad

In Syria, young social media activists are playing a major role in what began as a demand for reform and now seems to be a call for revolution.

They are part of the same Facebook generation that helped topple autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt. But in Syria, protest is a very dangerous business. Some activists have been forced to flee. They now work across the border in Lebanon, with simple tools — cell phones and touch pads.

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4:11pm

Wed April 20, 2011
Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood Maverick Eyes Presidential Bid

Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood says it will not field a candidate in the presidential election expected later this year. But that hasn't stopped a leading Brotherhood maverick from considering a campaign as an independent.

Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh is charismatic and known as a moderate, and he's challenging the leadership of Egypt's largest Islamist movement to run for the leadership of the country.

These days, Cairo is a city alive with political discussion groups. No topic is off-limits, which gives Abol Fotouh plenty of places to speak his mind.

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12:01am

Wed April 20, 2011
Middle East

In Egypt, Revolution Moves Into The Factories

Egypt's popular revolution was launched from a public square. Now there's an uprising on factory floors — with labor strikes across the country.

Under the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, many industries were privatized as Egypt turned from a state-controlled to a market-driven economy. But government-owned factories were frequently given to loyalists or foreign buyers who had the right connections. Many of them got rich by cutting wages and benefits.

Now, the workers are fighting back.

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4:00am

Tue April 12, 2011
Middle East

Egypt's Islamist Hardliners Embrace Democracy

Islamist groups in Egypt are joining the democracy bandwagon, even those with a violent past.

Just this week in Luxor, a militant Islamist group jailed for the massacre of Western tourists in 1997 returned to the site to talk about nonviolence, tolerance and political participation.

Two months after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, ultra-conservative Islamist groups known as Salafis have come out of the shadows. The hard-liners' embrace of democracy has alarmed some Egyptians.

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4:00am

Mon April 11, 2011
Africa

Egypt Update

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Next door in Egypt, former President Hosni Mubarak may be out of power but is back on the airwaves. In an audiotape broadcast by an Arab satellite channel, Mubarak said he and his family were hurt by allegations of corruption, which he insists are false.

Egypt's public prosecutor doesn't seem impressed - he issued a summons yesterday for Mubarak and his two sons to face an anti-corruption panel. That move came amid new tensions between the protest movement in Egypt and the military counsel that succeeded Mubarak.

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4:05pm

Wed April 6, 2011
World

Response To Arab Uprisings Causes U.S.-Saudi Rift

Defense Secretary Robert Gates spent a few hours in Riyadh on Wednesday, to thaw deeply damaged relations Gates is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Saudi Arabia since the wave of uprisings began in the Arab world.

Those uprisings have sparked tensions in U.S.-Saudi relations. In a rare open disagreement with the Obama administration, King Abdullah chastised the president for abandoning Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime ally.

The Saudis have since developed a more aggressive regional policy.

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