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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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.

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.

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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Iran's president brought an unsettling message to the United Nations on Thursday: Middle Eastern terrorism has been globalized, in part thanks to mistakes made by Western powers, and the threat cannot be eliminated by outside force alone.

President Hassan Rouhani, feted at last year's U.N. General Assembly as a welcome change from his combative predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the world body that his part of the world is "burning in the fire of extremism and radicalism."

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Editor's Note: This story was updated from its original version on Nov. 23, ahead of the upcoming expiration of the agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program.

The temporary agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program expires on Monday. That deal brought Iran some relief from international economic sanctions in return for freezing much of its nuclear program and allowing unprecedented monitoring of its nuclear activities. As the clock runs down, negotiators from Iran and six world powers in Vienna are working down to the wire for a longer-term deal.

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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Ever since the Islamic State seized Mosul more than two months ago, it's been difficult to get a detailed picture of life inside Iraq's second largest city.

The northern Iraqi village of Al-Qosh was humming with activity — and some jitters — when NPR visited back in June. The Assyrian Christian villagers had opened their schools and homes to Iraqis fleeing the takeover of nearby Mosul by Islamist fighters calling themselves the Islamic State.

Istanbul makes an exotic first impression: Boat traffic on the Bosporus sends waves brushing up against the shores of both Europe and Asia as enormous mosques and monuments from previous empires stand guard.

The city wears its history more openly than many, but that doesn't mean it's always easy to find. So writer Selcuk Altun spins mysteries that take his heroes into forgotten corners of the city, where once-majestic monuments go unnoticed amid the bustle of modern life.

Iraq's ethnic Kurds are longtime U.S. allies and have put up the toughest resistance to the Sunni extremists in the so-called Islamic State that has captured swaths or Iraq's north and west.

They're getting help from U.S. air strikes, but also need heavier weapons of their own to match the firepower of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Weapons have been promised by the U.S. and other countries, but getting them through the central government in Baghdad has hampered the mission, according to Kurdish commanders.

A massacre of members of the Yazidi minority in the Iraqi town of Kocho made headlines last week. Around 80 men were killed by militants from the so-called Islamic State, the extremist group that has swept through much of northern Iraq.

But that was not the only massacre, according to the Yazidis. In a camp for the displaced near the Syrian border, people call 21-year-old Abbas Khader Soullo a walking miracle. To explain why, he unbuttons his shirt and shows his bullet wounds.

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The news from Turkey lately has been mostly bad: A mine disaster this spring killed more than 300 workers; a corruption probe in December raised allegations of high-level graft in the Cabinet; and resentment continues to smolder against mega-projects that are threatening Istanbul's remaining green spaces.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. Let's read between the lines of a statement on nuclear talks with Iran. President Obama says, talks have shown, quote, "real progress." That's a diplomatic way of saying there's no deal yet. But the president also says, there's a credible way forward - and indication diplomats will keep talking past a Sunday deadline. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports on the possibilities and the risks.

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After two days of nuclear talks with his Iranian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Washington. Sunday is the deadline for a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Vienna that the talks could be extended.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. Iranian and American diplomats are facing a July 20th deadline to come up with a nuclear agreement. A deal could prevent any Iranian attempt to build a bomb. Failure could bring back the mutual hostility of the past. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Vienna, nuclear fuel, uranium, is the crucial issue.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. It's being billed as the final push. After a decade of on-again, off-again talks with Iran over its nuclear program, a last round of talks begins today in Vienna. Negotiators from Iran, the U.S. and five major powers have set July 20 - just weeks from now - as the deadline to reach an agreement. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Vienna. Good morning.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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Alarm bells are ringing in Iran now that Sunni militants are making such a huge claim in neighboring Iraq. Iran is the center of Shiite power in the region. It supports Iraq's Shiite-led government and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that Tehran is pursuing even more military support for its allies. But it also might be looking for a viable political solution in Iraq.

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The fighting is so bad in Iraq that yesterday NATO promised to defend member country Turkey from any spillover violence. Turkey borders two countries that some analysts now call failed states, Iraq and Syria. That's forcing Turkey to consider policies that could change the map of the region, even the possibility of more independence for Iraqi Kurds. That's something Turkey has vehemently opposed for decades. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.

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