Peter Kenyon

Peter Kenyon is NPR's international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Prior to taking this assignment in 2010, Kenyon spent five years in Cairo covering Middle Eastern and North African countries from Syria to Morocco. He was part of NPR's team recognized with two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards for outstanding coverage of post-war Iraq.

In addition to regular stints in Iraq, he has followed stories to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco and other countries in the region.

Arriving at NPR in 1995, Kenyon spent six years in Washington, D.C., working in a variety of positions including as a correspondent covering the US Senate during President Bill Clinton's second term and the beginning of the President George W. Bush's administration.

Kenyon came to NPR from the Alaska Public Radio Network. He began his public radio career in the small fishing community of Petersburg, where he met his wife Nevette, a commercial fisherwoman.

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Middle East
11:55 am
Sun November 2, 2014

After Acid Attacks And Execution, Iran Defends Human Rights Record

Iranians protest in Isfahan, Iran, last month in solidarity with women injured in a series of acid attacks. Several women have been attacked by assailants on motorcycles who threw acid on their faces, purportedly because they were "badly veiled."
Arya Jafari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 2:04 pm

Iranian officials attacked the latest United Nations report on its human rights record Friday, blasting what they called efforts to impose a Western lifestyle on the Islamic republic.

But for Iranians and others who hoped President Hassan Rouhani would begin to turn around his county's human rights record, the U.N. report provided a depressing but not surprising answer. It said executions in Rouhani's first year in office had increased to what U.N. Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed called "alarming" levels.

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Parallels
2:47 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

In Southeast Turkey, A Long History Of Bloodshed And Worship

The pillars at Gobekli Tepe resemble those at Stonehenge — but predate them by several thousand years.
J. Pfeiffer DPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 6:46 pm

The Urfa plain in southeastern Turkey — not far from where Syrian refugees watch fighters from the so-called Islamic State wage a brutal war in the name of a primitive version of their faith — is one of the most fought-over landscapes in human civilization.

But on the plain — soaked in blood since the days when Sumerian and Assyrian kings ruled Mesopotamia — there's a place that's even older, so old that its denizens hadn't mastered the arts of pottery, writing or making war.

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Parallels
6:46 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Syria's 'Moderate Rebels' Say They Are Willing, But Need Weapons

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs after attacking a tank with a rocket-propelled grenade during fighting in Aleppo, Syria, in September 2012. The rebels say they are willing to take on the Islamic State, but need more weapons.
Manu Brabo AP

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 9:26 pm

The American-led coalition opposing the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is starting to move toward vetting and training ground forces to do battle in both countries.

But it's a slow process, and it comes after years of frustrations for veterans of the Free Syrian Army, or the FSA, who have gathered in southeastern Turkey, a place with a long history of epic battles and religious fights.

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Parallels
2:35 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Kurds Hoping To Fight ISIS In Kobani Are Trapped By Turkish Suspicions

Thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in Kobani, Syria, while fighting continued between Syrian Kurds and the militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as seen from Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border on Wednesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 2:24 pm

Syrian defenders of the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani say an increase in coalition airstrikes — and better coordination with the air support — have helped them hold off the more heavily armed fighters from the so-called Islamic State.

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Parallels
2:34 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Amid Warnings Of Ethnic Cleansing, A Yazidi Man's Suicide Resonates

Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community settle under a bridge in central Dahuk, Aug. 14. Human rights activists say evidence of the Islamic State's violence against the Yazidis points to war crimes, and amounts to ethnic cleansing.
Khalid Mohammed AP

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 7:48 am

With so many members of Iraq's Yazidi religious minority killed, abducted or left homeless in recent weeks, one more death — due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound — might almost pass unnoticed. But friends and family of 33-year-old Naif Khalif Omar say his suicide is resonating in a community that sees only a bleak future ahead.

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