Kelly McEvers

After many years in the Middle East, Kelly McEvers is back home and working as a national correspondent based at NPR West. She previously ran NPR's Beirut bureau, where she earned a George Foster Peabody award, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, a Gracie award, and an Overseas Press Club mention for her 2012 coverage of the Syrian conflict. She recently made a radio documentary about being a war correspondent with renowned radio producer Jay Allison of

In 2011, she traveled undercover to follow Arab uprisings in places where brutal crackdowns followed the early euphoria of protests. She has been tear-gassed in Bahrain; she has spent a night in a tent city with a Yemeni woman who would later share the Nobel Peace Prize; and she spent weeks inside Syria with anti-government rebels known as the Free Syrian Army.

In Iraq, she covered the final withdrawal of U.S. troops and the political chaos that gripped the country afterward. Before arriving in Iraq in 2010, McEvers was one of the first Western correspondents to be based, full-time, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In 2008 and 2009, McEvers was part of a team that produced the award-winning "Working" series for American Public Media's business and finance show, Marketplace. She profiled a war fixer in Beirut, a smuggler in Dubai, a sex-worker in Baku, a pirate in the Strait of Malacca and a marriage broker in Vietnam.

She previously covered the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia as a freelancer for NPR and other outlets. She started her journalism career in 1997 at the Chicago Tribune, where she worked as a metro reporter and documented the lives of female gang members for the Sunday magazine.

Her writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, Slate and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has aired on This American Life, The World, and the BBC. She's taught radio and journalism in the U.S. and abroad.

She lives with her family in California, where she's still very bad at surfing.


Middle East
5:06 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Syrian Refugees Caught Up In Egypt's Political Crisis

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 3:27 pm



In Egypt, the ouster of President Mohammad Morsi has changed things - not just for Egyptians but also for another group of Arabs living in that country. It's a story of how when one group falls from grace, so do those who are perceived to be its supporters. Under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt was a safe haven for Syrians fleeing the war in their country.

Now, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports from Cairo, the power shift in Egypt is putting Syrians in danger.

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7:16 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Ramadan Takes Political Tinge In Egypt

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 4:08 pm



It's the holy month of Ramadan, usually a time of reflection, prayer and solidarity with fellow Muslims. But this Ramadan, Egypt is divided. The ouster of former president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this month and his current detention by Egyptian security forces, has polarized the country. NPR's Kelly McEvers spent last night in the streets of Cairo as pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi camps broke the fast outdoors and took to the streets in protest.


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NPR Story
4:45 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Syrian Conflict Continues Violent Spillover Into Lebanon

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 8:13 am



A bomb placed in a parked car caused a massive explosion in Beirut today that injured dozens of people. Later, a Syrian rebel group claimed responsibility for the blast.

NPR's Kelly McEvers was at the scene of the attack. She sent this report on how the Syrian conflict is spilling over into Lebanon.

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8:08 am
Sat June 29, 2013

War Correspondent's Unflinching 'Diary Of A Bad Year'

A Syrian woman is evacuated after being wounded in shelling by regime forces in the Shaar neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on Oct. 13, 2012.
Fabio Bucciarelli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 11:50 pm

NPR's Kelly McEvers struggled with intense, unexpected emotions during the Arab Spring, when friends were being kidnapped and worse. It made her wonder, why do otherwise intelligent people risk their lives to report on conflicts?

In early 2011, I started seeing things in slow motion. I cried unpredictably. It was the time of the Arab uprisings. Colleagues and friends were getting kidnapped. Some were getting killed.

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Middle East
6:05 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Dozens Dead After Clashes With Radical Cleric In Lebanon

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 1:46 pm

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Middle East
6:42 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Shiite Fighters Drawn To Fight In Syria By Islamic Prophecy



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Melissa Block.

For the first time in modern history, Shiite fighters are crossing borders to wage jihad, much as Sunnis traveled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and to Iraq to fight Americans. These days, the draw is Syria. The cause is not a foreign invader but a rival sect. And some say, it's about fulfilling a thousand-year-old prophecy, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

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Middle East
5:54 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Sons, Who Belonged To Hezbollah Died 'Heroically' In Syria

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 8:30 am



The U.N. says hundreds of wounded, along with thousands more civilians, are trapped inside the embattled Syrian town of Qusair. The Syrian army, along with fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, have the town surrounded. Up until recently Hezbollah's involvement in the fight was kept secret. But now, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports, the group's supporters are readying for what could be a bigger, more regional fight.

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Middle East
5:16 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Hezbollah Sends Fighters To Qusayr From Lebanon

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 8:42 am



NPR's Kelly McEvers has also been reporting on the fight, and the involvement of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. She sends this report.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: So, we're just on the other side of the border from where Steve just was. We're in Lebanon. We're standing on top of an unfinished house. It's basically bare concrete with rebar sticking up. And I can see into Qusayr. Just beyond a berm that forms the border between Lebanon and Syria is the city of Qusayr.

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Middle East
4:28 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Syrian Conflict Continues Spread Into Neighboring Lebanon

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 8:39 am



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

The Syrian town of Quseir sits just miles from the border with Lebanon and the fierce fighting there is evidence of how the war is reaching beyond Syria's borders. Lebanese militants from Hezbollah are now openly fighting alongside Syrian soldiers in Quseir. And this weekend, rockets were fired on Hezbollah areas inside Lebanon's capital Beirut. Here's NPR's Kelly McEvers.

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Middle East
4:47 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Syrian Rebels Want Enough Help To Turn The Tide

Audie Cornish talks to Kelly McEvers about her reporting out of Syria and what people there are saying about U.S. intervention.

3:20 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

A Close-Up Of Syria's Alawites, Loyalists Of A Troubled Regime

Director Nidal Hassan spent a year filming in Tartous, a Syrian beach town made up mostly of Alawites who still support embattled President Bashar Assad.
Khaled Al-Hariri Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 9:59 pm

The film on Syria's Alawite community isn't finished yet, but filmmaker Nidal Hassan's favorite scenes are beginning to take shape.

It opens with fireworks on New Year's Eve in Tartous, Syria. "May God preserve the president for us," one young man yells in a reference to Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

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Middle East
5:49 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Members Of Assad's Sect Break Ranks With Syrian Regime

A Syrian woman walks past a poster for President Bashar Assad in an Alawite-dominated neighborhood in the western city of Homs, on Jan. 11, 2012. Support among the president's own minority sect is waning.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

The Alawites of Syria were a poor, little-known Shiite minority until longtime dictator Hafez Assad, a member of the sect, rose to power in 1970. His son, President Bashar Assad, is now fighting to maintain that power in a country that has risen up against him. Now, even some Syrian Alawites say they are willing to denounce the regime, despite the risks.

A recent gathering in Cairo was much like other conferences hosted by the Syrian opposition — a flurry of activity in the hotel lobby, late-night conversations and lots of cigarettes.

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Middle East
4:42 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Syrian Government Stronghold Raqqa Falls To Rebels

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 6:16 am

The Syrian provincial capital of Raqqa is the first city to fall entirely to rebels who are fighting to bring down President Bashar Assad's regime. We have the story of Mohammad Abdel Aziz, who witnessed the fall of Raqqa from inside a prison cell.

2:58 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Revisiting Iraq: A Sister On The Edge

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:24 pm

It's been 10 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq. This week we're taking a look back, revisiting voices you first heard on NPR in 2007. We brought you the story of two sisters who had lost their parents. The older sister wore conservative clothes and recited poetry. The younger sister, just 13 at the time, appeared on the verge of becoming a prostitute.

Like so many stories in Iraq, especially sensitive ones involving shame and sex, this story has to be peeled away in layers, like an onion.

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Middle East
5:07 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Face-To-Face With Death In Iraq

Residents visit the tomb of a loved one at the New Kerbala cemetery in the holy city of Kerbala, Iraq, in 2007.
Mushtaq Muhammad Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 6:21 pm

On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, NPR is catching up with some of the people we encountered during the war. In 2006, at the height of the violence, we brought you the story of a woman who performed the Muslim ritual of washing and preparing the dead for burial. Kelly McEvers has this update on Um Abbas, who is now living in southern Iraq.

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NPR Story
4:43 am
Tue March 19, 2013

1 Decade Since The War, Where Iraq Stands Now

An Iraqi policeman stands guard at a checkpoint decorated with plastic flowers in Baghdad in 2008.
Ali Yussef AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 12:00 pm

Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, NPR is looking at where the country stands now. NPR's Kelly McEvers recently visited Baghdad and offered this take on how the Iraqi capital feels today.

I think the single word that would best describe Baghdad these days is traffic. It can take hours just to get from one place to another. And I guess that's both good and bad.

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5:14 am
Sat March 16, 2013

Letters To My Dead Father

Guffran, 16, sits on the floor of her home, holding a letter she wrote to her father. A Shiite Muslim, Guffran's father was gunned down on the streets of Baghdad in 2006.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 7:46 am

Ten years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, NPR is taking a look back, revisiting people and places first encountered during the war. In 2006, NPR aired a story about a 9-year-old girl who loved her father so much, she wrote him letters to take to work with him. Even after he died, in a carjacking that appeared to have a sectarian motive, she still wrote to him.

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NPR Story
5:10 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Analysts See Shift In U.S. Response To Syrian Conflict

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 7:23 am

Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the Middle East last week marked a small but, some believe, significant shift in American policy on Syria. On the surface, the U.S. has announced it is stepping up aid to the Syrian opposition and its armed wing. But look closely, analysts say, and you'll see that the U.S. is more willing to tip the scales against the Syrian regime.

Middle East
12:14 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

A Chat With A Radical Fighter In Syria

Members of Jabhat al-Nusra clean their weapons, in Aleppo in December. The Islamist rebel group has become an increasingly powerful force in Syria's civil war.
Ahmed Jadallah Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:51 am

The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.

But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.

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Middle East
7:10 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Syrian-Americans Contribute To Rebels' Cause

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 8:19 am



For nearly two years, Syrians living in the United States have watched their home country fall apart. Now in a moment, we'll hear the story of one Syrian-American who's watched the conflict from her home in Michigan, but who hasn't escaped tragedy. First, we bring you an encore broadcast of a report from NPR's Kelly McEvers.

She told us the story of one man who used his vacation time to travel from California back to Syria. His plan: to help the rebels bring down the government.

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