Return to Transcripts main page


Britain at the polls; A Peek Inside Kaesong Industrial Park. Saudi- Arabia Calls for Ceasefire in Yemen; Syrian Refugees Head to Brazil. Aired 11:00-12:00p ET

Aired May 7, 2015 - 11:00   ET




ADEL AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: There will be a ceasefire everywhere or a ceasefire nowhere.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Saudi Arabia proposes a five day pause in military action in Yemen, but not without conditions. Tonight, will the

violence stop to allow for desperately needed humanitarian aid to get into the country?

Also ahead...


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Made in Korea, sneakers rolling off assembly lines in a South Korean factory with North Korean workers.


ANDERSON: An exclusive look inside North Korea's industrial park, a rare symbol of cooperation between two neighbors who are still technically

at war.

And from the alleyways of Aleppo to the boulevards of Sao Paulo, we bring you the story of Syrian refugees who now call Brazil home.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is just after 7:00 here. Desperately needed aid could soon be on the way for civilians trapped by

the fighting in Yemen.

Now Saudi Arabia is proposing a five day humanitarian ceasefire, but says it'll halt airstrikes only if Houthi rebels lay down their arms.

Well, weeks of fighting killed hundreds of civilians in Yemen and left millions more struggling with shortages of food, water and medical


Just Wednesday, Yemen's UN ambassador asked the security council to save the country by supporting a ground invasion against Houthi rebels.

But today in Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry downplayed talk of a ground war. He met with Yemen's exiled president Abd Rabbuh

Mansur Hadi, then joined the Saudi foreign minister to talk about what is this proposed ceasefire.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: So we strongly urge the Houthis and those who back them whom we suggest use all of their influence not to

miss this major opportunity to address the needs of the Yemeni people and find a peaceful way forward in Yemen.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh spent a considerable amount of time reporting from Yemen last year.

And this tonight joining us from Beirut.

Another round of talk, as it were, not talks but talk. What do you make of these latest developments?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot of choreography and tension in the next ten days, but also a lot of nothing

that could happen as well.

Both Saudi Arabia and the U.S. clear that this offered five day ceasefire, which could, they say, happen in several days once the aid

community, they say, has had enough time to get shipments ready and after a meeting tomorrow in Paris. That ceasefire of five days could be renewable.

That's contingent on the Houthis also stopping the movement of weapons, use of weapons and fighting as well.

Now, it's a very complex task ahead, because the Houthis themselves aren't entirely homogeneous group and there are other militias involved in

the fighting as well, a lot of street by street, a lot of it turf wars that have been around for awhile.

And then on top of that, too, you have the complex task of getting the aid in. Five days could be enough for that, but the runway of the main

airport in Sanaa has been taken out. And the ports themselves are the scene of pretty intense fighting as well.

So, I think obviously this is a bid for the moral high ground by the U.S. and Saudi after an intense airstrikes over the past weeks. And

obviously we have to hear now from the Houthis. Do they accept this. They're given initial indications that the later part of this kind of

choreographal (ph) dates we're seeing ahead, which would end 10 days from now in a meeting in Riyadh in which all sides in teh Yemeni conflict who

were invited by Saudi Arabia, the Houthis have given an initial indications they're not interested in going for that. But will they also not accept

this ceasefire being offered to pressure clearly directed towards them.

But this does come after weeks of intense aerial bombardment, Becky.

ANDERSON: Let's just have a listen to what the new foreign minister in Saudi had to say today, Nick.


AL-JUBEIR: So the decision was made that the pause would affect all of Yemen for a period of five days. It will be announced in -- the actual

date will be announced shortly, god willing, and as well as the requirements.

Now this is all based on the Houthis complying with the ceasefire. There will be a ceasefire everywhere or a ceasefire nowhere.


[11:05:01] ANDERSON: Let's provide some context for this for our viewers who may not be watching this on a sort of minute by minute basis.

GCC countries led by Saudi will be in Paris at the end of this week and then going on to the states where they meet President Obama at Camp David.

With John Kerry in Riyadh today and this announcement, how much maneuvering behind the scenes is the U.S. doing at this point? How much

pressure are they putting on Saudi to keep this conflict legitimate as it were?

WALSH: The U.S. obviously playing both sides here. They're assisting with everything from search and rescue to targeting for the Saudi campaign.

I think clearly given what the Houthis did to their embassy there, there is no love lost pushing the U.S. diplomats to leave. There's no love lost

between Washington and Houthi leaders.

But at the same time, too, there is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe happening inside Yemen now. And the U.S. just this morning was

asking for that humanitarian pause. The Saudis suggested it was possible, but it all comes down to whether the violence can actually stop long


But there's a much bigger picture here, Becky. We're talking about a potential historic detente between Tehran and Washington. The nuclear

talks that have been ongoing and are reaching now the final kind of number crunching technical complex stage in the weeks ahead.

They of course have made the Saudis deeply nervous and concerned that their arch nemesis in the region Iran may in fact end up in some broader

comfortable arrangements with Washington who have been the Saudi's long- term regional, global ally security wise for decades.

So, this perhaps is John Kerry doing two things: trying to reassure the Gulf allies that the U.S. have -- they're being invited to Camp David,

who have lots of security concerns and demands on the U.S. of their own, but at the same time, too, remember if you're watching this from Tehran

you're seeing that potentially if this nuclear deal falls apart, that Washington are very close and very ready to respond regionally with the

Sunni part of the equation here, the Saudis and the GCC who face in so many of the proxy conflicts around that region now Shia-backed Iranian militia.

So, a very interesting and complex maneuver that John Kerry is pulling off today, but one broadly that perhaps may lead to cessation of violence

in the weekend ahead in Yemen, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, complex calculations as you rightly point out.

Nick, thank you.

Nick Paton Walsh out of Beirut for you this evening.

So, how will Houthi rebels respond to this ceasefire offer? Well, coming up we'll get reaction from a Houthi activist, also a look at where

the conflict goes from here. We'll speak with the co-founder of the Sanaa center for strategic studies, that is a youth-led think tank aiming to

bring new perspectives to Yemen and to regional affairs. That is all coming up in about 10 minutes from now, so do stay with us for that.

Meantime, Palestinians are criticizing Israel's new coalition government saying it'll work against instability in the region.

Well, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a last minute deal with a far right party just before a midnight deadline. That gave him

61 out of the 120 seats in parliament, the narrowest majority possible to retain power.

Well, let's get more from Oren Liebermann who is our man in Jerusalem.

When Netanyahu emerged from the election, Oren, with that decisive victory, he cannot have imagined the price of a governing coalition will be

this high: conceding what are powerful seats in the cabinet to some of his political rivals, and rivals on the right.

What are the implications here?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Netanyahu knows exactly how weak a 61 seat government is. He knows for this government to last he's

going to have to expand it somehow. And he acknowledged that in a statement right after the announcement that he had his coalition. He said

61 is a good number, 61 plus is a better number.

So he knows he wants to expand his coalition. He'll have to announce who is in the coalition next week, but then he can immediately start

working on expanding that coalition.

You're absolutely right that he had a decisive victory on election night, winning 30 seats. It looked like he could whatever he wanted

politically with his coalition. And it looked like he had a strong 67 seat right-wing government.

In the last few days here, one of the right wing parties backed out leaving him with that fragile 61 seat right-wing government. And he knows

exactly how fragile that government is. It's already facing a tremendous amount of criticism. Isaac Herzog, his main rival in the elections, called

this a government of national failure, a weak government. And he's already facing criticism from the Palestinian Authority calling this a right-wing

government that won't lead to peace.


NABIL ABU RUDEINEH, SPOKESMAN FOR PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT: This is a rightist government, which believes in settlement activity, rejects the two

state solution, and still pushes through long-term political paralysis. This will reflect on the region and will be dangerous not only for the

Palestinian issue, but for the general political atmosphere in the region.


[11:10:10] LIEBERMANN: A right-wing government is a government designed to focus on domestic issues, and perhaps that's what Netanyahu had

in mind. But to do that, to push through reforms, to push through national changes, he was certainly hoping for something stronger than a 61 seat

government, a 61 seat coalition.

At the same time, as you just heard mention there, this is a government, a right-wing government, that will face tremendous

international pressure with the Palestinians on a two state solution on settlements. He'll have to find a way to handle that pressure if this

government is to hold together.

Becky, certainly worth noting that one of the most important ministries, the foreign ministry does not have a name attached to it yet.

You can use that to try to lure in another political party perhaps, perhaps even Isaac Herzog.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, thank you, Oren.

Well, while Israelis are getting a sense of what their new government will look like, ballots still being passed in the United Kingdom's general


The clock you see on your screen is counting down the time until the polls close. Millions voting at more than 40,000 polling stations across

the country. And CNN covering all for you with less than six hours to go until the doors are closed.

Let's got to Nic Robertson. He joins us outside a polling station in London. And for transparency's sake, the rules governing a British

election don't allow us to talk about the people or the politics. What we can do it talk about the turnout. So, in what could be one of the closest

elections in decades, have the polling booths been busy across the UK?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the perception is that they have been -- you know they're having quite a lot of sunshine

here in London and generally across the country the weather looks pretty good and that's always good for a higher turnout. I think there is a

perception across the country as well that these elections really count.

And this polling station that we're outside of for mainland Britain this is the one that had the closest margin between parties at the last

elections, 42 votes in it.

So, we've seen that here a fairly steady stream of people coming in to this polling station, its polls opening at 7:00 a.m. this morning. There

was a group of people standing outside waiting for the doors to open. We've seen a lot of people coming in on their way to work or the schools

just closed a few minutes ago. There were a lot of people dropping by with their children after picking them up from school.

So, it's been fairly steady throughout the day. We've seen the leaders of the principles parties going out to vote early in the day.

David Cameron voting in his Oxfordshire constituency. We're seeing Ed Milliband up there in Doncaster in Yorkshire voting and Nigel Farage, the

UK Independence Party, he voted in Thanet in the very southeast corner of the country.

Nick Clegg voting just outside Sheffield, again in Yorkshire close to Doncaster.

Natalie Bennett voting for the Green Party in London.

And in Scotland, Glasgow, Nichola Sturgeon from the Scottish National Party. she voted as well.

So all the leaders, they got out early in the day. Very clear where they're votes are going.

Six more hours, a little bit less, for people to go to the polling stations expecting a sort of surge of voters as people vote on their way

home from work.

But steady and probably higher turnout expected than the last election, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, fantastic. All right, and perfectly pleasant day there in London. I hope all of you who are voting are having a perfectly

pleasant day wherever you are in the UK.

CNN is the place for extensive coverage of the British election. We'll have special program that begins just as polls close shortly before

10:00 p.m. local time following developments throughout the night as we get a sense of what the new parliament will look like. That is right here on


Still to come this hour tonight Syrian refugees head for a new life in a place that just might surprise you. We'll get you the details on that.

First up, though, Yemen asks for ground troops as Saudi Arabia and the U.S. push a five day ceasefire. We'll look at what competing interests

want in Yemen's war.


[11:16:51] ANDERSON: Iran has released a container ship that it had seized in the Strait of Hormuz. The vessels managing firm says all crew

members on the Mersk Tigris (ph) seen here in a file picture are safe and are in good health.

The vessel was intercepted by Iranian patrol boats last week. Now Tehran says it was because of a long running legal dispute with the Danish

shipping company Mersk. The United States responded by sending navy ships to escort U.S. and British commercial vessels through what is this very

strategic waterway.

You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Taking you to our top story again this evening. Those diplomatic baby steps towards what could be a temporary ceasefire in Yemen. The U.S.

Secretary of State and the Saudi foreign minister both spoke on the matter today and John Kerry said neither country is talking about sending ground

troops in.

Militia loyal to Yemen's government in exile are fighting Houthi rebels and their backers in the key coastal city of Aden and elsewhere.

Yemen insists they do need foreign boots on the ground to help them succeed.

Well, I want to bring in Farea al-Muslimi now who is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and was in Yemen in

the recent weeks.

Competing interests, it seems, with competing agendas and competing views or is it? Or is this a situation where we are seeing massive complex

calculations going on by all those involved?

FAREA AL-MUSLIMI, VISITING SCHOLAR, CARNEGIE MIDDLE EAST CENTER: I think it's mostly a sense of confusion happening over Saudi Arabia and the

United States on what to do next in Yemen. Obviously, the war was launched in Yemen with very little clear strategic vision or a way out or reasons or

clear goals of how this will end up. Obviously, this is a good step talk about possibility of a ceasefire however I'm afraid it is probably very

late. At the same time, it does not have any clear timelines and clear vision for a longer-term peace in Yemen.

A ceasefire might be able to take things down a bit, but at the same time humanitarian situation is terrible that in five days are not going to

be enough to do much difference on the ground in Yemen.

ANDERSON: Saudi Arabia says any ceasefire must be far reaching and upheld by the Houthi side. Houthis activists are saying al-Bukhaiti told

Connect the World just in the past hour or so that even if the rebels agree some of their allies may not. He says the Houthis don't control the tribes

in the north. There is some influence and some Houthis involved in the tribal areas, but they cannot tell the tribes to withdraw for a ceasefire.

A hint, Farea, at just how complicated any future talks will be. This clearly isn't straightforward, two-sided conflict here. There are many,

many others in place with different agendas, aren't there?

I think you made a very good point I think perhaps has clearly never been an endgame here for anybody. So what happens next?

[11:20:09] AL-MUSLIMI: I mean, obviously I think one thing we have to keep in mind is that there has been in the past even before this massive

war, a lot of agreement and a lot of ceasefires between the Houthis and the government since they were still in Sanaa over a year.

However, they have never committed to a single ceasefire -- to a single ceasefire. And I think I'm afraid that there isn't much support --

there isn't much new on the table right now. In fact, you can tell they're already talking about how they do not have a command over all of the

fighters on the ground. It's very telling of that intentions they have in the next few days.

However, to a certain point I think there is a problem, it's not just from the Houthi side, but also from the other side on the ground. There is

very little control for President Hadi and his government over the fighters in Aden or in the south who are resisting the Houthis.

And obviously as long as the Houthis are still in Aden that will immediately call for more resistance and for technically for more battles,

obviously especially that situation in the last few days have been very violent and bloody in Aden and other parts of the country.

That slowly the war over the last few weeks in Yemen has established itself to be the only sustainable thing so far. And I'm afraid five days

are not going to be enough. And obviously unless they are part of a bigger plan, I'm afraid this is one of the just buying time obviously and it can

actually backfire if it's not thoughtfully planned.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about that bigger plan.

Before I do earlier this week, I interviewed the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri, I asked him about

unconfirmed reports of foreign forces already on the ground. Let's just listen to what he said then.


BRIG. GEN. AHMED ASIRI, SAUDI ARABIA: I'm talking to you as a coalition spokesman. So when I say to you that I'm confirming that we

don't have any debarkment (ph) of the coalition troops in Yemen, this is because I'm talking about on behalf of all the countries join the


Now, we continue to support the popular group on the ground by all means. We train them. We equip them to be able to protect themselves.


ANDERSON: Who knows whether special forces are on the ground or not, but certainly it seems that the Yemeni appeal for foreign ground troops to

save the country is probably going to fall on deaf ears. Just how important is the bigger, wider story of Iranian nuclear talks with the U.S.

and other powers feeding into this story?

AL-MUSLIMI: The problem is obviously in Yemen is it has been more than about Yemen. Essentially it has gotten -- the conflict has even

though if it started for domestic reasons it's not anymore a domestic one. And obviously that right now it's more of a way for Saudi Arabia to show

muscles toward Iran. However, the visit of Kerry to Saudi might respond to some of these Saudi, let's say, attention seeking from the west of

guarantees and other sorts of agreement with the west.

At the same time, speaking about the domestic situation in Yemen is much, much beyond control of anyone to speak that confidently whether about

a pro-ground troops or anti-ground troops.

But I think what's between the lines here, and is very important to realize, is that the tone of the coalition is very different from the tone

of the President Hadi, which means at least in the detail of the ground troops they are not as responsive as Hadi would wish to. And obviously

also his vice president, who is slowly being inserted as the new leader of the country does not have a similar view or a similar vision for ground

troops as the president have.

I think it's more of a personal desire than actually a collective decision of the Yemeni government or of those Yemenis in exile in Riyadh at

the moment -- yeah.

ANDERSON: It is a pleasure talking to you, sir. We're going to take a very short break. We will chat with you again on a story which I don't

believe is going away. Thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, a war torn neighborhood in Beirut is being revived. Let's hope the new Digital District will become an incubator for Lebanon's fast

growing tech scene. That is next on Transformations.

Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout Central Beirut, bullet-ridden buildings stand as a monument to Lebanon's turbulent past. This is a city still

scarred by the 15 year civil war that came to an end in 1990.

But just a few meters from the green line that once divided Christians in the east and Muslims in the west, a new neighborhood is emerging,

uniting the country's up and coming talent.

This is the Beirut Digital District, Lebanon's growing tech scene.

MOUHAMAD RABAH, GENERAL MANAGER: Our vision is to try to create a Lebanese digital hub where we attract international (inaudible) talent to

stay here and to reverse, by creating employment opportunities, to reverse the immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, the goal is to retain local talent and foster innovation to offer digital and creative industries subsidized

internet rates and cutting edge infrastructure.

KARIM MOUSSAWER, PARALX: What we're trying to create is a community that makes the creative thinking flourish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Although it's strategically located right in the heart of the city. For years, this area was left abandoned.

RABAH: When we started investing in the Bashor (ph) area where we are currently standing, the Bashor (ph) area was the left out torn area since

the 1975. No one had stepped foot in it.

We used to find the snakes, three meter snakes walking around. It's all (inaudible) in a way to be able to revive an area and to transform an

area from a war torn district is by bringing motivated people, young, dynamic, creative that they will reshape the neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Digital District is privately funded by the real estate developer ZRE. Since its launch in 2012, four buildings have

been completed, but it will continue to grow with plans in place to expand through to 2027.

Nymgo, a software company that calls itself the Google of Beirut is now based here.

OMAR ONSI, NYMGO FOUNDER: We're not the corporate style. We need a startup culture, something that's easy, funky, and this is exactly what

goes on here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a history of sluggish internet speeds, it may not yet rival the likes of Silicon Valley, but the foundations are being

laid to make this a powerhouse for startups in the Middle East.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are optimistic. We have the talent. We have what it takes, right. Unfortunately we are lacking some resources in the

country, but eventually historically we have to bypass all of those hurdles and I think we can bypass what we're passing through now. So I am




[11:31:49] ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour on CNN.

Saudi Arabia proposing a five day ceasefire in Yemen so its humanitarian aid can reach civilians trapped by the fighting there. But it

says that Houthi rebels must hold their fire as well, or the deal is off.

That announcement came during a visit to Riyadh by U.S. secretary of state John Kerry.

The Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog calls the prime minister's new coalition, quote, a government of national failure. Benjamin Netanyahu

suffer a last minute deal with a far right party that gave him a razor thin majority in parliament.

Well, millions of people are voting now in the UK general election. There are 650 odd seats in the House of Commons with 326 seats needed to

command a majority.

Let's get you to North Korea now, one rare example of economic cooperation between the reclusive nation and its neighbor to the south. An

industrial park sits just north of the demilitarized zone and citizens from both sides working together. CNN's Will Ripley, he was granted exclusive

access to the site and has this report.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sneakers rolling off assembly lines in a South Korean factory with North Korean workers.

"When we started doing business here we had 300 employees. Now we have 3,000," says manager Kang Mi-won.

She'd like to hire 2,000 more, but she can't. This factory, and more than 100 others in the Kaesong Industrial Complex caught in the middle of a

showdown between the North and the South just miles from their heavily armed border.

There was so much hope at this historic summit in 2000, a landmark deal between Pyongyang and Seoul establishing two cooperative projects,

South Korean businesses on North Korean soil. One of them, the Mount Kun Gang (ph) tourist region closed after a North Korean security guard shot

and killed a wandering tourist in 2008.

Today, the industrial complex remains open, but planned expansion has been frozen for five years.

In 2010, South Korean accused the North of torpedoing their navy ship, the Cheonan, killing 46 sailors. In response, South Korean stopped all new

investment in Kaesong, leaving the industrial complex half empty and businesses like this shoe factory with no way to expand.

"Because of the restrictions, we can't fill huge orders and meet high demand," she says.

Every morning and every evening, 270 buses help transport 52,000 North Koreans back and forth to work.

These buses stopped for several months in 2013, escalating tensions led North Korea to pull all the workers out, the crisis triggered by North

Korean anger over joint military exercises between South Korean and the United States.

Now, a new dispute over worker pay is threatening business again. Wages are paid directly to Pyongyang. North Korean complex managers,

including Pak Cheul-suu (ph) are demanding a wage increase of $4 a month.

"We believe the attitude of the South Korean government is hurting the lives of workers here," he says.

South Korea objects to a wage hike, saying the North is going around the rules by unilaterally declaring a new minimum wage without consulting

with the south.

Assembly lines keep rolling as the crisis deepens. At risk, the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation and the livelihoods of tens of

thousands of workers and their families.


[11:35:43] ANDERSON: I want to get you back to the Middle East and the United States is set to begin a controversial program to train moderate

Syrain rebels to fight against ISIS. U.S. defense officials tell CNN thousands of rebels will receive training in Jordan and in Turkey, but the

plan doesn't go far enough for some Syrian fighters.

CNN's Barbara Starr reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Making a rare public appearance before supporters, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad honors

children of his dead soldiers and acknowledges some setbacks.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): Syria is currently waging a war not just a battle.

STARR: Islamist rebels, including some with links to al Qaeda and the more moderate Free Syrian Army, have scored key victories against the Assad

regime in northern Syria in recent days, raising the prospect of a change in the war's momentum.

It comes just as the Pentagon is poised to begin a controversial program to train other moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS, not the

regime, at bases in next door Turkey and Jordan.

CNN has learned the training on small arms could begin as soon as this week. It's a cornerstone of the U.S. fight against ISIS inside Syria.

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There has to be a ground component to the campaign against ISIL in Syria. And we believe that the

path to develop that is the Syrian moderate opposition. STARR: But it's a high risk job for 400 U.S. military trainers, though a direct attack on them is not expected.

LT. COL. JAMES RESSE, (RET.) MILITARY ANALYST: What is more prevalent is what I would call an insider threat, that either ISIS infiltrates and

has fighters inside that then turn on U.S. forces...

STARR: Once trained on small arms and tactics to defend their towns, will the rebels return home to fight Assad and not ISIS? That's what

Jordan and Turkey still want to happen.

REESE: They have been beating their drums about this for several years. And they believe if we remove Assad this will really help the

situation throughout the region.

STARR: The U.S. also wants Assad out, but ISIS is now the most immediate target.

The Pentagon believes the rebels will fight locally, but officials say they still must find a way to protect them back home against ISIS and the


DEMPSEY: The program won't succeed unless they believe themselves to have a reasonable chance of survival.

STARR: The Syrian opposition says it needs 30,000 troops a year to be trained. The defense department says it's going to train about 5,000 a


Barbara Starr, CNN, The Pentagon.


ANDERSON: Well, the UN refugee agency estimates that nearly 4 million people have fled that fighting in Syria, most of them settled in

surrounding countries -- Turkey has taken in the most refugees in terms of sheer numbers, though tiny Lebanon home to a total equal to one-fourth of

its population. Jordan, really suffering as well.

Now, a surprising number are also heading elsewhere.

Shasta Darlington explains why from Sao Paulo.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brazil's melting pot seen from street level, a long tradition of European and African

influences as well as Syrian and Lebanese communities started a century ago, now receiving a new wave of arrivals.

Hossain Kanan (ph) trims, combs and touches up, skills he learned in Syria and now puts to use at his own shop in Sao Paulo.

"There are people who are smuggled out of Syria by sea and end up dying," he says in Arabic. "But me, I chose the country that issues visas.

I got one and came."

He's been in Brazil for eight months.

Last year, Brazil took in 1,400 Syrian refugee, more than the United States or France, really building on the relatively little known, but

vibrant immigrant culture.

Brazil made it easier by issuing visas to Syrians at its embassies around the globe and then granting refugee status when they arrive.

Still, they land without money and without speaking Portuguese. Their first stop, one of the handful of mosques.

During Friday prayer service in both Arabic and Portuguese, Sheikh Mohammed al Bukhai (ph) urges Muslims to respect differences and work hard.

"Brazil opened its doors and is giving visas, which is a big step," he says. "But a lot of people think it's going to be like other countries.

They'll give you aid and housing and a salary, but that doesn't exist here."

New arrivals do get residence and work papers and a few donations. The rest is up to them.

Bashar (ph) and his family lived in a refugee camp before making their way to Brazil.

"The future in Syria, god knows, is over and gone, "he says, we hope to make a future here."

Bashar is in charge of maintenance at the Pari Mosque (ph). Sharazad (ph) takes their two children to a local school.

"I have Brazilian friends I talk to," she says. "They visit me and I visit them."

But experts say Brazil's long history of Syrian and Lebanese immigration is not the only motivation.

[11:41:16] CAMILA ASANO, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: You should consider Brazil this emerging power, and Brazil also wants to be this global player,

it (inaudible) it should be part of the solutions of global crisis like Syria.

DARLINGTON: While most experts think Brazil should help finance refugees' long journey in the first few months settling in, Hussein (ph)

says he, for one, isn't looking back.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.


ANDERSON: Well, are you a Syrian living in Brazil or elsewhere? We'd love to hear from you. Your accounts are of life away from home do help us

inform the way that we deliver the news. Whoever you are and wherever you live, join us as we discuss and develop our coverage of all the stories

that we do here on Connect the World. If 140 characters or less suit you better, tweet me @BeckyCNN. That is @BeckyCNN.

Your parting shots this evening. A look at some of the weird and wonderful places across the UK where voters are exercising their democratic

right as we speak. No political spin doctors here, just plenty of spin cycles in a launderette in Oxford in England transformed into a polling

station for the day.

The ballot box comes with a blow dryer and rinse at this hair dressers, while the gloves were off in this amateur boxing club in the

north of England.

Well, from the wide open spaces of the local football club to a tiny porta cabin in a car park in Wales it is democracy in action. And voters

in the UK have just over five more hours to cast their votes wherever they might do it.

CNN is the place for extensive coverage of that British election. We've got special programming that begins just as polls close shortly

before 10:00 p.m. local time following developments throughout the night as we get a sense of what the new Parliament will look like.

It is as close as it's been in decades that's right here on CNN.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World.