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Betsy Hiel

Kurdish fighters step in to protect Iraq residents from ISIS

By Betsy Hiel
MAKTAB KHALED, Iraq — Kurdish flags ripple over a dusty checkpoint south of the oil city of Kirkuk, where soldiers deploy behind earthen mounds and …

Christians from Mosul seek refuge in ancient monastery in Iraq

By Betsy Hiel
AL FAF, Iraq — Perched on a rocky, sand-colored mountain dotted with green shrubs and ancient caves, the Monastery of St. Matthew was a sanctuary …

Kurdish areas welcome refugees from elsewhere in Iraq

By Betsy Hiel
SHEKHAN, Iraq — More refugees fled into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq as government and Islamist forces battled on Wednesday over key cities and a major oil …

Iraqi refugees debate intentions of brutal al-Qaida splinter group ISIS

By Betsy Hiel
KHAZER, Iraq — Kurdish soldiers in tan camouflage, some with U.S. insignia, guard the checkpoint here between Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and Erbil, the capital …

Islamist assault on Iraq threatens Mideast as whole, experts warn

By Betsy Hiel
CAIRO — Iraq’s sectarian meltdown threatens national borders drawn by European diplomats more than a century ago. More ominously — for the United States, the …

Former ambassador: U.S. must repair ties with Egypt

By Betsy Hiel
CAIRO — As Abdel Fattah al-Sisi becomes Egypt’s president, analysts wonder how he will lead his troubled country and a tumultuous region. The answer is …

Egypt’s president must build confidence among the citizenry

By Betsy Hiel
CAIRO — Former Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi faces “a very difficult time” as Egypt’s eighth president since 1953, analysts here say. The retired army field marshal won last week’s presidential race with 96.91 percent of the vote, election officials said …

High rate of spoiled ballots underscores deep political divide in Egypt

By Betsy Hiel
CAIRO — Everyone expected Egypt’s former military chief to win the latest presidential election. But no one expected his challenger to finish where he did. …

Egyptian officials try to boost voter turnout

By Betsy Hiel
CAIRO — Election officials extended voting in Egypt’s presidential race to a third day amid reports of low voter turnout. People trickled into polling stations …

Egyptians are confident Sisi will be victorious in presidential election

By Betsy Hiel
CAIRO — Egyptians voted on Monday and Tuesday in their second presidential race since a 2011 revolution and its tumultuous aftermath brought down two leaders. …

Conflict-weary Egyptians look to army field marshal Sisi for stability

By Betsy Hiel
GIZA, Egypt — The Great Pyramid is the oldest of the world’s Seven Ancient Wonders, and the only wonder still standing. Yet the only tourists …

Islamist growth in Syria inflates fears in Jordan

By Betsy Hiel
ZARQA, Jordan — When Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011, Jordanian authorities seemed happy that local Islamists left to fight Syria President Bashar Assad’s regime. …

Slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader among Jordan city’s ‘holy warriors’

By Betsy Hiel
ZARQA, Jordan — Muneif al Samara is proud that so many Salafi jihadis from Zarqa are leading Syria’s civil war. The city has a history …

Nearly 28 years after Chernobyl disaster, life goes on in ‘exclusion zone’

By Betsy Hiel 10:24 p.m.
CHERNOBYL, Ukraine — Misha Tefflenko’s family of eight fled the village of Fabrykivka in 1993, when radiation levels rose too high. They and 300 other …

Activists fearful to speak up for a united Ukraine

By Betsy Hiel
VOLNOVAKHA, Ukraine — Dimitri Lubinets recalls how Ukrainian military vehicles passed through town more than a week ago, headed to the border with Russia. “We …

Ukraine fault line on joining Russia runs through Pittsburgh sister city

By Betsy Hiel
DONETSK, Ukraine — Where Pushkin and Shevchenko boulevards converge, about 5,000 pro-Russia separatists massed on Saturday outside the regional governor’s office. Chanting and waving blue, …

Crimeans vote to join Russian Federation, exit polls show

By Betsy Hiel
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine – “I voted for Russia. It is close to our spirit.” Alexi Koval, 29, an electrical engineer in the capital of Ukraine’s secession-minded …

Crimeans put trust in referendum on joining Russia

By Betsy Hiel
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Cossacks surround the Crimean parliament building, a large Russian flag hanging behind them. “The Motherland is calling. Vote yes,” read fliers passed …

Crimea’s Tatars recall suffering under Soviets, to boycott referendum

By Betsy Hiel
KRASNOGVARDEYSKOYE, Ukraine — Muniver Umerova was just 6 when she was deported from Crimea, along with two sisters and her mother. She vividly recalls the …

Crimeans given 2 options in referendum, neither is status quo

By Betsy Hiel
YALTA, Ukraine — Along the promenade of this historic Black Sea resort, billboards tout Sunday’s referendum on Crimea’s future. “Join with Russia,” urges one with …

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