Deborah Amos http://wesa.fm en Iran's Culture Wars: Who's Winning These Days? http://wesa.fm/post/irans-culture-wars-whos-winning-these-days In Iran, hardline critics are waging a campaign against President Hassan Rouhani to limit his campaign pledge of opening Iran to more social and cultural freedoms.<p>The "culture wars" are as old as the Islamic revolution that swept conservative clerics to power more than three decades ago. The latest chapter comes as Rouhani is negotiating a nuclear deal with six world powers. Sat, 12 Apr 2014 13:04:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 27461 at http://wesa.fm Iran's Culture Wars: Who's Winning These Days? Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War http://wesa.fm/post/iranians-begin-feel-heavy-burden-syrias-war The Syrian civil war has been a major headache for President Obama. Critics at home and abroad, like Saudi Arabia, where the president was on Friday, have urged the U.S. to do more.<p>But the U.S. isn't the only country that's faced difficult choices over Syria. Iran and Syria have been close allies for decades. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:32:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 26658 at http://wesa.fm Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War A Syrian Refugee Camp With Girl Scouts And A Safeway Store http://wesa.fm/post/syrian-refugee-camp-girl-scouts-and-safeway-store On a sunny afternoon in the dusty, overcrowded Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, a group of Syrian girls recites a familiar pledge and hope to change their future. Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:20:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 26005 at http://wesa.fm A Syrian Refugee Camp With Girl Scouts And A Safeway Store Syrian Conflict Marches Into Fourth Year http://wesa.fm/post/syrian-conflict-marches-third-year The Syrian uprising started three years ago this week with protests and eventually a military crackdown that led to all-out civil war. More than 130,000 people have died. Mon, 17 Mar 2014 09:07:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 25966 at http://wesa.fm Saudi Aid Boost To Syrian Rebels Puts Jordan At Risk http://wesa.fm/post/saudi-aid-boost-syrian-rebels-puts-jordan-risk For months, a military stalemate has defined the war in Syria. Now, a new strategy is emerging as Western allies and Gulf states step up support for rebels in southern Syria.<p>Along Jordan's northern border, Syrian rebels say they are unifying their fractious ranks, urged to unite by Western and Arab intelligence operatives who work in a covert command center in Jordan's capital.<p>Rebel sources confirm pledges of stepped-up deliveries of arms and intelligence sharing. Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:58:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 25938 at http://wesa.fm Saudi Aid Boost To Syrian Rebels Puts Jordan At Risk 'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran http://wesa.fm/post/waiting-godot-strikes-chord-tehran At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.<p>The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended. The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped.<p>Iran is also waiting. It is waiting for the outcome of negotiations with six world powers over the country's nuclear program. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 25845 at http://wesa.fm 'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities http://wesa.fm/post/iranian-women-push-tighten-gender-gap Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. After the decisive vote for Rouhani, a surge of hope in Iran has attracted activists back to the political arena. Iranian women, in particular, are seizing the opportunity.<p>On a recent afternoon in north Tehran, two professional women huddle with an adviser to the Ministry of Mines and Trade. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 08:08:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 25357 at http://wesa.fm Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities What Comes Next In Syria? http://wesa.fm/post/what-comes-next-syria For eight days, the Syrian regime and an opposition delegation sat face-to-face, but were not on speaking terms in Room 16 of the Palais des Nations in the sprawling complex of United Nations headquarters in Geneva.<p>Round one demonstrated the bitter divide with no breakthrough on the core issues of a political transition or access to humanitarian aid.<p>So what comes next?<p>An agreement to continue the talks remains on hold. The opposition delegates pledged to return to the table in early February. Sat, 01 Feb 2014 16:26:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 23741 at http://wesa.fm What Comes Next In Syria? During Syrian Peace Talks, Rival Sides Wage A Media Battle http://wesa.fm/post/during-syrian-peace-talks-rival-sides-wage-media-battle Friday was the first day of negotiations at the Syrian peace conference. There were no direct talks, however. Instead, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi shuttled between government and opposition delegations in separate rooms. Fri, 24 Jan 2014 22:06:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 23327 at http://wesa.fm Surprise Invitation Lands Syrian Peace Talks In Hot Water http://wesa.fm/post/surprise-invitation-lands-syrian-peace-talks-hot-water The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference is again in turmoil. The U.N. secretary-general's surprise decision to invite Iran to attend the conference prompted a boycott threat from Syria's exiled opposition. At issue is the fact that Iran has not publicly committed to the framework for the conference or pledged to withdraw its troops and allied militias from Syria. Under pressure from the opposition groups and the U.S., the U.N. has since withdrawn its invitation to Iran. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:37:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 23097 at http://wesa.fm Low Hopes, High Stakes For Syria Peace Conference In Geneva http://wesa.fm/post/low-hopes-high-stakes-syria-peace-conference-geneva Can a meeting in Switzerland, known as Geneva-2, solve the crisis in Syria?<p>The expectations are low. The warring parties are reluctant. Some of the most important players, including powerful armed rebel groups, are not on the invitation list.<p>The superpower hosts, the U.S. and Russia, fully back the peace conference, set for Wednesday. They hope to kick-start a political process and end the armed conflict that has ravaged Syria and destabilized the region.<p>More than 40 countries have been invited, including the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 23073 at http://wesa.fm Low Hopes, High Stakes For Syria Peace Conference In Geneva As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City http://wesa.fm/post/rebels-fight-rebels-grim-reports-syrian-city Reports from the Syrian city of Raqqa are dire. In the north-central provincial capital, "the atmosphere has gone from bad to worse," says one activist with a rare link to the Internet. He reports the city is "completely paralyzed," the hospital is abandoned, and there are bodies in the central square. There is no power or water for a city of more than half a million people. Even the critical bread ovens are shut.<p>The appalling description from Raqqa is just one scene from a new phase in the Syrian war. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:48:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 22554 at http://wesa.fm As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City Syria's War Creates A Demand For Artificial Legs http://wesa.fm/post/syrias-war-creates-market-artificial-legs In a clinic in southern Turkey, Mohammed Ibrahim helps 23-year-old Syrian Mustapha Abu Bakr take his first steps since he lost his legs, holding on to a set of bars for balance.<p>"He can't express his feelings," Ibrahim says. "It's a new thing completely for him."<p>Ibrahim explains that patients who have lost a leg below the knee can walk out of the clinic without crutches after a day of practice. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:50:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 21983 at http://wesa.fm Syria's War Creates A Demand For Artificial Legs Rebel Leader: Nuns Were Led To Safety, Not Seized, In Syria http://wesa.fm/post/rebel-leader-nuns-were-led-safety-not-seized-syria <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4WTdkmBwP8</p> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:43:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 21734 at http://wesa.fm Rebel Leader: Nuns Were Led To Safety, Not Seized, In Syria Radical Islamists In Northern Syria Spill Over Turkish Border http://wesa.fm/post/radical-islamists-northern-syria-spill-over-turkish-border Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>As we just heard, Turkish officials say they're clamping down on the radical Islamists who move through Turkey to join the rebellion in Syria. But in some frontier towns of southern Turkey, there's little sign of a crackdown.<p>NPR's Deborah Amos has that story.<p>DEBORAH AMOS, BYLINE: Usually, we begin a story like this in a Turkish border town, the places near Syria's northern frontier that are a hub for radicals who want to join al-Qaida linked groups. Thu, 12 Dec 2013 21:36:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 21290 at http://wesa.fm With The Help Of Smugglers, Syrian Refugees Sneak Into Europe http://wesa.fm/post/help-smugglers-syrian-refugees-sneak-europe The 27-year-old Syrian, who once smuggled arms for Syrian rebels, is now waiting in Istanbul for a human smuggler to get him to Europe. He says his name is Mohammed. He does not offer a second name. He will go by air, he says, the safest route. He has paid a smuggler more than $8,000, and he's sure he will get to Austria.<p>In the past week, he connected seven friends with smugglers.<p>"I know that most of them made it," he says, with a tight smile. He is traveling light. Sat, 07 Dec 2013 10:23:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 20977 at http://wesa.fm With The Help Of Smugglers, Syrian Refugees Sneak Into Europe As Polio Spreads In Syria, Politics Thwarts Vaccination Efforts http://wesa.fm/post/polio-spreads-syria-politics-thwarts-vaccination-efforts The World Health Organization has declared a polio emergency in Syria.<p>After being free of the crippling disease for more than a decade, Syria <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/22/238693328/first-polio-cases-since-1999-suspected-in-syria">recorded</a> 10 confirmed cases of polio in October. Now the outbreak has grown to 17 confirmed cases, the WHO <a href="http://www.who.int/csr/don/2013_11_26polio/en/index.html">said</a> last week. Mon, 02 Dec 2013 23:58:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 20716 at http://wesa.fm As Polio Spreads In Syria, Politics Thwarts Vaccination Efforts After Stalemate, Regime Troops Gain Against Syrian Rebels http://wesa.fm/post/after-stalemate-regime-troops-gain-against-syrian-rebels The Syrian army has been gaining significant ground against the rebels around the capital and in the north city of Aleppo. Analysts say the regime has better allies, superior fire-power and in this sectarian battle, has finally integrated Shiite forces from Hezbollah into a formidable force that is effective against disunited rebels. Mon, 18 Nov 2013 09:15:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 19988 at http://wesa.fm A Conquered Foe Returns To War-Torn Syria: Polio http://wesa.fm/post/polio-reappears-war-torn-syria In a refugee camp in eastern Lebanon, aid workers put sandbags around plastic tents to keep winter rains from flooding dirt floors. For weeks now, the threat for Syrian refugees was the coming cold. Now refugees have a bigger fear: polio.<p>A childhood disease that causes paralysis and sometimes death, polio can spread rapidly, especially with the huge movement of people fleeing the war.<p>Some 4,000 Syrians still cross into neighboring countries every day, at least half of them children.<p>Lebanon hasn't had a polio outbreak in 12 years. Sat, 02 Nov 2013 10:46:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 19168 at http://wesa.fm A Conquered Foe Returns To War-Torn Syria: Polio Saudi Women Go For A Spin In Latest Challenge To Driving Ban http://wesa.fm/post/saudi-women-go-spin-latest-challenge-driving-ban <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6miMkksxsZ0</p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 17:21:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 18683 at http://wesa.fm Saudi Women Go For A Spin In Latest Challenge To Driving Ban Syria's Grinding War Takes Toll On Children http://wesa.fm/post/syrias-grinding-war-and-toll-it-takes-children Alexandra Chen, a specialist in childhood trauma, is on her way from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where she's running a workshop for teachers, child psychologists and sports coaches who are dealing with the Syrian children scarred by war in their homeland.<p>"All of the children have experienced trauma to varying degree," explains Chen, who works for Mercy Corps and is training a dozen new hires for her aid group.<p>Her intense five-day workshop is based on skills and techniques developed in other conflict zones, used for the first time here.<p>"They need to Mon, 21 Oct 2013 15:25:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 18472 at http://wesa.fm Syria's Grinding War Takes Toll On Children Do You Know What The U.S. Government Is Up To In Syria? http://wesa.fm/post/do-you-know-what-us-government-syria Mark Ward is the U.S. State Department's senior adviser on assistance to Syria, and when he heard the Syrian border town of Azaz was overrun by an offshoot of al-Qaida in September, he knew it was time to get creative again.<p>"You always have to have a plan B in this kind of work," he says.<p>Ward is based in Turkey. His job is to oversee a growing and unusual U.S. humanitarian assistance program in rebel-held areas in seven provinces across northern Syria.<p>U.S. Fri, 04 Oct 2013 15:20:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 17631 at http://wesa.fm Do You Know What The U.S. Government Is Up To In Syria? Syrian Rebels: U.S. Distracted By Focus On Chemical Weapons http://wesa.fm/post/syrian-rebels-us-distracted-focus-chemical-weapons A satellite cellphone rings for rebel commander Bashar al-Zawi, at home with his family in the Jordanian city of Irbid. It's a rare domestic break for this wealthy businessman turned rebel commander. But he is anxious to get back to his battalion of 5,000 fighters in southern Syria.<p>They are taking part in a rebel offensive that is squeezing the Syrian army around the city of Dera'a. Thu, 26 Sep 2013 07:43:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 17168 at http://wesa.fm Syrian Rebels: U.S. Distracted By Focus On Chemical Weapons Small Syrian Border Town Magnifies Rift Between Rebel Groups http://wesa.fm/post/small-syrian-border-town-magnifies-rift-between-rebel-groups A small town on the Syrian-Turkish border is playing an outsized role in what has become a war within the war in Syria. Sun, 22 Sep 2013 20:22:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 16959 at http://wesa.fm Small Syrian Border Town Magnifies Rift Between Rebel Groups For Some Syrian Refugees, A New Home In Germany http://wesa.fm/post/some-syrian-refugees-new-home-germany As a Syrian Christian man rolled the family luggage through Beirut's international airport, he practiced his German: "Thank you, <em>danke</em>, <em>dankeschon</em>."<p>The man, who asked not to be named, is part of a group of Syrian refugees offered temporary resettlement by Germany for two years. The contingent, which flew out Wednesday, included 70 adults and 37 children and infants.<p>More than 2 million Syrians have fled their country and more than 4 million are displaced inside Syria, according to the United Nations. Thu, 12 Sep 2013 18:55:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 16433 at http://wesa.fm For Some Syrian Refugees, A New Home In Germany