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Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Reporter’s Notebook From The Middle East

Deborah Amos, NPR’s correspondent in the Middle East, recently returned from the region, where she has been covering the ongoing civil war in Syria.

The complex dynamics of the conflict, which has spread beyond Syria’s borders, are in flux, Amos told Here & Now.

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR. (Steve Barrett/NPR)

Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR. (Steve Barrett/NPR)

“We are in a stalemate, a brutal and terrible stalemate where neither side is in a mood to come to any negotiating table,” Amos said. “So what you have is 5,000 deaths a month, 6,000 refugees a month. And it is a brutal, brutal war of attrition.”

A result of the ongoing conflict has been the massive amount of refugees who are pouring into Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

“Those revolutionary, young, idealistic people who began this revolt, they are out of the equation now. Most of them—the ones who survived—have left the country,” Amos said. “Those people will tell you, maybe this was all a terrible mistake, because no one can see an end in sight.”

Because the countries receiving refugees already had tensions between religious groups and sects, the influx of Syrian refugees will likely add to regional instability.

“It feels like all of these countries are inching toward the abyss because of the Syrian civil war,” Amos said.

While the United States is not directly involved in the conflict and has pulled back in arming rebels, Amos thinks that the conflict in Syria is already a proxy war for the United States and Russia, and Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“[Syria is a] part of the world where the great powers have interests, so it will take the great powers to sort this out,” Amos said. “All those players will have a say in how Syria is settled.”

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