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A linear elastic fracture mechanics analysis of a cylindrical element of matrix with a single fiber and two matrix annular cracks perpendicular to the fiber direction under longitudinal tensile load was undertaken. The order of singularity and the angular dependence of the stress field in the neighborhood of the crack periphery were determined by using the stress function approach proposed by Zak and Williams. The stress intensity factor was evaluated by combining the results of the local stress solution with a finite element analysis. The case of fiber debonding originating from the periphery of the annular cracks was also studied. For that problem both opening-mode and sliding-mode stress intensity factors and the strain energy release rate were determined. These results help to understand the various failure mechanisms including matrix cracking, debonding along interfaces and kinking of interface cracks into fibers in brittle matrix composites.