January 15, 2012
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Anna Bross, NPR


   

NPR CORRESPONDENT KELLY MCEVERS REPORTS FROM INSIDE SYRIA

McEvers Tells "Tale of Two Cities" in Aleppo;
Reports Airing This Week on NPR News

NPR international correspondent Kelly McEvers has just returned from a reporting assignment in Aleppo, Syria, where she finds the country's largest city still very much divided six months into the battle there. McEvers describes Aleppo as "a tale of two cities," where "both sides think they can win, but neither side is winning, so neither side is going to back down." Her initial reports from Aleppo are available now; she will continue to detail her days spent in the city all this week on NPR newsmagazines. Audio will be at NPR.org following each broadcast.

This is McEvers' second trip into the city since the start of the uprisings. Her reporting this week will offer clear insight into how the people are faring in a conflict that could continue to grind on for many months, if not years. She finds Syrians working to get their lives back: food stalls full of produce, the bread crises of last year adverted, electricity outages forcing people to cut down trees and burn furniture to stay warm.

McEvers reported that the urban front lines are largely quiet as rebel forces focus their attention on the three remaining air fields on the outskirts of the city that are vital for the Assad government, both for resupplying troops in the north and as launch pads for air attacks on rebel-held areas. Rebels believe if they can cut off the government's ability to resupply its troops, Aleppo will fall. She learns that the government army also is struggling against well armed and trained Islamist fighters, some of them from outside Syria, who are now leading the battles at these government bases.

McEvers, along with correspondent Deb Amos, has covered the Syrian uprising since its birth, capturing the pace and gravity of events in the region. The two have made frequent reporting trips into Syria and from the border in Turkey and Lebanon, bringing clarity and context to a volatile and rapidly changing story. Next week, they will be honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for this work.