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
2:57 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Tracking Rape In Syria Through Social Media

Syrian women walk through a market area in the northern city of Aleppo last November. A new website is documenting the use of rape in the Syrian conflict.
John Cantlie AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:17 pm

Rape has long been a weapon of war, but documenting sexual violence usually happens after a conflict is over. Researchers are taking a new path with the Syrian conflict: tracking the incidents of rape as they occur.

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Middle East
12:54 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Syria's War Leaves Its Scars On The Children

Maysam Selmo, 8, during her first week at Albashayer School for Syrian Refugee Children in Antakya, Turkey. She and her extended family fled their village in northwestern Syria, and now live in a crowded apartment.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:57 pm

The war in Syria is taking a huge toll on the children. An international team of researchers that interviewed Syrian kids in a refugee camp in Turkey found that 3 out of 4 have lost a loved one. Almost half have post-traumatic stress disorder and elevated levels of depression.

There are efforts to help, but it's challenging. In the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the bell rings at 8 a.m. at the Friendship Elementary School. Syrian kids, in fresh school uniforms, cram into desks, with more than 40 students in every classroom.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Amid Food Shortages, Syrian Opposition Now Runs Many Towns

A Syrian woman carries a ration of bread on her head in the northern city of Aleppo. The Syrian opposition now runs local councils in many cities, particularly in the north. They often face major challenges in providing basics likes food, water and electricity.
Odd Anderson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 2:18 pm

As the Syrian opposition gains control of large swaths of territory in the country's north, local councils are emerging as the first alternative authority after 21 months of revolt.

It is still unclear if the civilian councils can impose order in war-torn areas where rebels have the power of arms. And at least parts of major cities remain in the hands of President Bashar Assad's forces.

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Middle East
5:14 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

U.S. Doctors Provide Supplies, Training To Syrians

Dr. Mazen Kewara, an American vascular surgeon, trains Syrian doctors during a workshop in Antakya,Turkey.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:34 pm

Syria's health care system is collapsing after 21 months of revolt. According to a new report by the World Health Organization, half of the country's public hospitals have been destroyed in the fighting.

Pharmacies are running out of medicine for even the most basic care. In rebel-controlled areas, field clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed. A group of Syrian-American doctors has stepped in to help, bringing in crucial supplies and providing training.

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Middle East
3:33 am
Thu December 6, 2012

'It's A Disaster': Life Inside A Syrian Refugee Camp

Mothers and their children sit among their washing in a refugee camp on the border between Syria and Turkey near the northern city of Azaz on Wednesday. The internally displaced faced further misery as heavy rain was followed by a drop in temperatures.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:20 pm

It's early afternoon when the sun is bright, and it's finally warm enough to come outside. This tent camp on a hill overlooking the Turkish border, near the Syrian town of Atma, houses more than 14,000 displaced Syrians.

The water here is trucked in, and it's the only source. Women line up with plastic jugs to haul the daily delivery back to the tents. What is striking are the children — in dirty clothes and summer shoes, faces red and raw from the cold.

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World
6:01 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles

Rajiv Shah (left), the head of USAID, speaks with children during a visit at the Oncupinar Syrian refugee camp in Turkey, near the Syrian border, on Nov. 27.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 7:12 pm

The Obama administration remains wary about arming Syria's rebels. But when it comes to humanitarian aid, the U.S. contribution, over $250 million, is second only to Turkey.

Then there is non-lethal aid, an additional $50 million for communication equipment and training courses.

If you are surprised by the numbers, so are Syrian activists, who say American support is still almost invisible on the ground. Now, U.S. officials are highlighting the American aid profile.

High-Profile Visit

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The Two-Way
11:04 am
Mon December 3, 2012

A Syrian Tank Shells Turkey, Yet The Response Is Silence. Why?

Turkish soldiers stand guard in the town of Akcakale, just across the border from Syria, on Oct. 4. The Turks have often issued stern warnings and retaliated when shooting from the Syrian war has come across their border. But Turkey did not respond to an incident over the weekend.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 12:28 pm

Whenever the Syrian military fires across the border into Turkey, it threatens to ignite a major confrontation.

But sometimes the Turks choose to play down cross-border attacks on their territory, and an episode Saturday shows how complicated these shootings can be in a war that continues to evolve.

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Middle East
12:42 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

In Syria, Aleppo Today Is Must-See TV For Survival

Aleppo Today broadcasts are simple but relay crucial information — from tank movements to Internet connectivity — to the people who remain in the embattled northern Syrian town. It relies on a network of 70 correspondents to provide a 24-hour news stream.
Aleppo Today

Every day, dozens of Syrians are killed and wounded in Aleppo, Syria's financial capital. Since July, President Bashar Assad's loyalists have mounted a relentless military campaign to dislodge rebels fighting for control of the northern city. Neither side can afford to lose.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

In One Corner Of Syria, A Rebel Victory Results In Friction

A Syrian rebel fighter is shown in the northeastern Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn on Nov. 11, several days after the rebels captured it. The rebel takeover has created friction with the town's Kurdish population.
Murad Seezer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 6:49 pm

When Syrian rebels seized the border post at Ras al-Ayn on Nov. 8, they celebrated the victory and went on to "liberate" the town, a place where both Arabs and Kurds live on Syria's northeast border with Turkey.

But the Kurdish inhabitants quickly saw their "liberation" as a disaster. Within days, dozens were dead in clashes between Kurdish militias and the rebels.

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

In Syria, An Act Of Reconciliation Stirs Fierce Debate

Supporters of President Bashar Assad speak with U.N. monitors who were arriving in the town in May. The monitors have since left.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 1:41 pm

After 20 months of violence in Syria, acts of reconciliation are scarce.

When one took place earlier this month in the town of Tel Kalakh, near the border with Lebanon, it touched off a fierce debate.

The man at the center is Ahmad Munir Muhammed, the governor of Homs, who has long been known as a loyalist of embattled President Bashar Assad.

However, Muhammed made an official visit to Tel Kalakh, where the majority of neighborhoods are controlled by the rebels.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Thu November 15, 2012

New Syrian Opposition Group Gets Thumbs-Up From Facebook Users

Moaz al-Khatib, a Muslim cleric, is the leader of the newly formed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition. The opposition is working to build support inside Syria through Facebook and other social media.
Karim Jaafar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:02 pm

Facebook is the bulletin board for the Syrian revolt.

When a newly formed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, got some 18,000 "likes" within 48 hours, it was a sign that support is building for a group formed Sunday after a week of negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

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Around the Nation
5:21 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Subway Is Closed, But New Yorkers Are Moving Again

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 8:52 am

In New York City, early estimates for fixing the damage to the mass transit system are already in the billions. But New Yorkers used to zipping around the city in subways are thrilled to get even limited bus service back after the devastating storm.

Around the Nation
5:18 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Sandy Floods New York City's Subway System

The New York City subway system remained closed on Tuesday in the wake of Sandy. Millions of gallons of water poured into the subway's tunnels, overwhelming its pump system.

Middle East
10:20 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Syrian Rebels Fear Radicals May Hijack Revolt

Syrian rebels pose after seizing control of the Bab al-Hawa border post on the Syrian-Turkey border on July 20. Now, the rebels are facing a new challenge: radical Islamists, who they say do not represent them.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Homegrown rebels have done most of the fighting against the Syrian government troops. But Islamist militants from abroad, including some with links to al-Qaida, are now joining the fight against the government in growing numbers.

The local rebels are not pleased with this development, and there is growing tension between the groups that share a desire to oust President Bashar Assad but little else.

Until a few weeks ago, the border crossing at Bab al-Hawa on Syria's northern frontier with Turkey was the site of a training camp for a militant Islamist group.

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Middle East
1:39 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Syrian Activists Take On New And Riskier Roles

Rebel fighters take up position near the military airport outside the rebel-held town of Azaz in northern Syria on Aug. 21. In rebel-held towns like Azaz, activists are taking on new, risky roles as the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad continues.
Youssef Boudlal Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 7:58 pm

On a recent day in the northern Syrian town of Azaz, there's an edgy energy when a pickup truck armed with a heavy machine gun screeches to a halt.

Wild-eyed and high-flving, the young rebels in the truck are happy to be alive after they hit a government helicopter landing at an air base 8 miles outside Azaz.

This rebel-held town is under nightly attack. This lightly armed rebel crew races out to the air base every day to target regime aircraft from hidden sites in the olive groves.

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