Deborah Amos

For the Aldabaans, a Syrian refugee family, the path to the American Dream has begun with mortgage on a house in suburban Connecticut — one with a grassy backyard and room for bikes and birds.

Adeebah and Ibrahim, parents of five school-aged children, work while their kids — who now speak English — attend school. The oldest two, Naji, 19, and Ammal, 18, are seniors in high school and making plans for college.

Their travels to this reality, though, have not been easy ones.

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It is remembered as one of the great atrocities of El Salvador's 12-year civil war. In 1989, a Salvadoran military battalion raided a private Jesuit university before dawn and executed six priests, their cook and her teenage daughter.

One of those killed, university rector Ignacio Ellacuría, had promoted dialogue between the U.S.-backed right-wing government and leftist guerrillas in the country's civil war. He and four of the other slain priests were Spanish citizens.

A divided United Nations Security Council approved a resolution on Saturday to allow just one border crossing — instead of the current two — to remain open for U.N. aid convoys into Syria, dealing another blow to a humanitarian assistance program for millions of displaced people.

The outcome alarmed aid groups struggling to help those trapped and in danger in the nine-year civil war.

Editor's note: This story contains a graphic description of an alleged sexual assault.

It was a chilling description of torture in an infamous Syrian prison: "There were screams, they weren't normal," Syrian witness Feras Fayyad said in court. "I was very afraid."

Fayyad, 35, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, was the first witness to testify in a trial in Germany against a Syrian intelligence officer whom he alleges nearly killed him in a Damascus detention center in 2011.

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One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the coronavirus is that many patients die alone. Hospice is designed to provide gentle end-of-life care, so the hospice field is working to adjust to the pandemic. NPR's Deborah Amos reports.

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An unprecedented trial begins in Germany on Thursday. A former high-ranking Syrian intelligence officer, charged with crimes against humanity, will face Syrian torture survivors in a courtroom in the western German city of Koblenz.

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