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Former Syrian National Council Members Discusses What Went Wrong; Russia Causes Anxiety Over Incursions Into Turkish Airspace; Urban Farming in London; Yazidi Women Share Their Stories. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired October 5, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:14] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Russia risks the wrath of Middle Eastern allies as it plows ahead with Syria airstrikes, Turkey lashes out.

We're live in Moscow in a moment for you. And we'll also get the view from here in the Gulf.

Also ahead...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We met the enemy and it's us. I think a lot of the Syrians are also to blame.


ANDERSON: Syria's fragmented opposition under the microscope. We trace one man's journey towards disillusionment.

Plus, a tense situation in Jerusalem and the West Bank goes from bad to worse. We'll have a live update for you later this hour.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening. It's just after 7:00 here in the UAE. Russia and the United States have been holding high level discussions on

Syria to avoid any unintended incidents resulting from Russia's military action there, that is according at least to the Russian Foreign Minister

Sergey Lavrov.

The U.S. hasn't confirmed those talks.

Well, Moscow says that it's only striking ISIS and other extremist rebels on the ground, but the U.S. disputes that saying that Russia has

been targeting western-backed fighters.

And there's a bit of tension between Turkey and Russia. Turkish media report that Ankara now says a Russian fighter jet violated its airspace by

mistake, but warned against it happening again.

Let's cross to Moscow for you where CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance kicks us off this hour.

Matthew, what is the explanation from Moscow on this plane into Turkish airspace?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've essentially apologized it seems to the Turkish foreign minister for this

saying that there was some kind of navigational error and that this kind of incident won't happen again.

But of course on Saturday when Turkish F16s were scrambled to intercept a Russian fighter jet, you know, there were a lot of concerns in

Ankara that this may be the start of some kind of, you know, disrespect towards Turkish territorial boundaries.

The Russians have tried to make it clear that that's not the case and that they will endeavor to make sure this doesn't happen again. But, of

course, it's almost inevitable. There are such crowded skies now over Syria that incidents like this may occur. I mean, you've got the NATO --

or the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against ISIS. The Turkish military of course as well carrying out its patrols separately

along its borders. And then of course the Russian military now carrying out dozens of sorties every day almost, striking at ISIS positions and

other positions as well.

There's another incident as well, which the Turkish military have identified saying that two of their patrols, F16 airplanes, on patrol were

essentially buzzed or locked on to, or harassed is the word they use, by a MiG-29 plane whose nationality could not be identified.

Now, the implication is that because it came a day after the interception of the Russian plane that this may have been another Russian

incident. But, you know, I think we need a few more facts to get some clarification on that, because the Syrian airforce also have MiG-29s. And,

you know, there's been occasions in the past where they've been in contact with, you know, hostile with the Turkish air force.

OK, so confusion in the air.

We're told, meantime, that the U.S. and Russia have been in talks.

Any clearer, briefly, who Russia's targets are in Syria at this point?

ANDERSON: Yeah, well, Russia says that it's targeting ISIS, but it's also targeting other terrorist groups as well. It's talked about the al-

Nusra front, other groups as well. And the implication is that basically it's not drawing much of a distinction between the opponents of Bashar al-

Assad and these essentially striking -- striking at all of them.

There's been some confusion over the Free Syria Army, which is of course backed by the United States, backed by other western governments as

well. Sergei Lavrov earlier today seeking clarification, he said, on what exactly the FSA is.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): They talked about the Free Syrian Army, but by now it's a phantom structure. At

least I've asked John Kerry to give us some information. Where is this Syrian free army? Who is in charge of it? We would be even ready if it's

a real structure with real capacities, armed groups of the patriotic opposition that consists of Syrians. We're ready to make contacts with

them. We don't hide that. But so far nobody told us anything. Where and how this Syrian Free Army is functioning or where or how other units of the

so-called moderate opposition are functioning.


[11:05:11] CHANCE: So, again, the Kremlin not really drawing a distinction between the moderate opposition and all the other rebel groups,

including ISIS, confronting their ally Bashar al-Assad.

ANDERSON: Matthew is in Russia for you tonight. Thank you, Matthew.

And it's not just the politicians in Russia weighing in on the Syria debate, take a look at this. A weather forecast on state broadcast at

Russia 24. It's not forecasting local highs, though, but the sunny warm temperatures of Syria instead. The presenter then goes no to say the

conditions are perfect for Russian airstrikes right now.

Well, later in the show we're going to get reaction from the Gulf to Russia's escalating intervention in Syria. We're going to hear from one

Syrian who was closely involved in the early opposition movement only to become bitterly disillusioned later (inaudible) here now in the UAE. And

as competing anti-ISIS efforts continue in Syria, we take a look at a woman risking her life to help those who know firsthand the brutality of ISIS.

Moving on, and the top U.S. general in Afghanistan says Afghan forces asked for an aistrike, which is believed to have hit a hospital in Kunduz,

killing 23 people.

The charity Medecins Sans Frontiers, or MSF, has called the attack a war crime. The U.S. military has been carrying out airsrikes to help

Afghan government forces battle the Taliban in the strategic northern city of Kunduz. The Pentagon is investigating the strike, but MSF wants an

independent body to look into the attack instead.

Lets get you to the Afghan capital then and Kabul where CNN's Nic Robertson joins me live.

Are we any closer, Nic, to finding out exactly what happened?


I mean, disgusted is the precise word that the Doctors Without Borders have used to describe how Afghan officials say that the Taliban were using

the hospital as a military base. Doctors Without Borders deny that absolutely.

But we are beginning to get more details. I mean, still this morning we understood from NATO that this was a U.S. special forces unit on the

ground acting with Afghan national army and that the U.S. special forces were being directly fired upon by the Taliban, that's why the airstrikes

came in.

Now the U.S. general, General John Campbell who commands the forces here, has given some clarity. This is what he said.


GEN. JOHN CAMPBELL, U.S. ARMY: We have now learned that on October 3 Afghan forces advised that they were taking fire from enemy positions and

asked for air support from U.S. forces.

An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck.

This is different from the initial reports which indicated that U.S. forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.


ROBERTSON: And of course what Doctors Without Borders are saying is that they want this investigation -- they want the investigation to be

international, independent and transparent. And General John Campbell said there that he would be -- there would be transparency. And I think what

we heard from him there was an effort to give that transparency.

He also said that there would be accountability for those or if through the investigation people were found to be responsible then they

would be held accountable for their actions -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Afghan police, Nic, say that Taliban militants were hiding in the hospital. Is there any evidence for those claims?

ROBERTSON: If there is evidence, one would expect the investigation to find that. General Campbell said that he's directed General Kim to head

the investigation. General Kim is already in Kunduz conducting that investigation.

Doctors Without Borders operate, as do all hospitals here, a strict policy of not allowing anyone in the compound with weapons.

What we do know is that close to the compound there was a firefight going on that involved the Taliban. The -- it is believed that the Taliban

may have fled from that firefight into the compound. What we heard from Doctors Without Borders earlier in the week is that when the Taliban first

came into the town, they told the Doctors Without Borders to continue the work at their hospital.

So, there is a very -- several very different narratives here. So from the investigation we do not have clarity yet. Should we expect to

hear that, yes. Doctors Without Borders hope for it.

ANDERSON: Briefly, Nic, the battle for Kunduz goes on and the Taliban is fighting elsewhere as we know in Afghanistan.

Just how strong is the Taliban today? And how much of a risk is it to the Afghan government?

[11:10:02] ROBERTSON: It's a growing threat and problem. There are multiple reasons why. Kunduz is a prime example of that. An ethnically

divided city where corruption of government officials may favor one ethnic group and not the other. That undermines support for the government. It

allows the Taliban to come enter. Kunduz was the last major city that the Taliban held. This was a reason that they wanted to take it back. They've

been planning to do this for some time. We understand that they shifted forces from elsewhere.

That when it seems now when they set their eyes on a target city, and there are others in that area that they could also threaten at the moment,

then the government here should worry, because the Taliban is becoming more capable. And the Afghan forces are showing a certain level of weakness in

that regard.

I mean, take for example you know the fact that government forces are still battling Taliban inside Kunduz right now, but the government doesn't

even control the main highway linking Kunduz to the capital. The Taliban still have checkpoints on that highway. That's the scale of the difficulty

that the Afghan army is in at the moment, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Kabul in Afghanistan for you this evening. Nic, thank you.

Still to come, tensions running high in Jerusalem. After a series of deadly attacks, the new restrictions Israel has put in place in response to

the violence.

Plus, Russia's airstrikes are alienating its powerful allies in the Gulf, or so it seems. Is it miscalculating in the Middle East? I'll be

joined by an expert on the region up next.


ANDERSON: Let's get you back to one our top stories this hour: Russia's air campaign against ISIS and rebels in Syria.

Now, Turkey and gulf state Saudi Arabia and Qatar are questioning the strategy. They've been funneling weapons and cash to rebels there with the

aim of removing President Bashar al-Assad, a goal that seems to be at odds with what Russia wants.

Well, I'm joined now by Fawaz Gerges, his regular guest on the show and joins us from London tonight where he's the chair of contemporary

Middle East studies at the London School of Economics.

Fawaz, it was only a month or so ago that leaders from this region, including the foreign ministers of the UAE and Saudi Arabia met with

President Putin in Moscow to discuss the Syria crisis.

Is it clear yet what the Gulf position on this Russian intervention is?

FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Well, you're really asking a very difficult question. I know it's a simple question, but very

difficult question, Becky.

If you listen carefully to the public position of the Gulf states, hardly anything public so far. The Gulf states have exercised restraint.

They are studying their options. They are waiting for the United States -- to see if the United States is willing and prepared to confront Russia.

They have not come out very critical of the Russian position even though, as you said, the Russian intervention undermines a major fundamental plank

of the Gulf states and Turkey.

And what's that? To basically topple the Assad regime. I mean, they have invested billions of dollars. They have basically put -- I mean,

their interests at the heart in particular of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Turkey. And yet, even Turkey, if you listen carefully to what Turkey has

said, the Russian position is unacceptable. I mean, the Turkish president has not gone out of his way, as he is used to really vehemently criticize

the Russian position in particular given the fact that the Russian position is designed to shore up the fragile position of the Assad regime and

undermine the strategy of the Gulf states and Turkey.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and of course President Erdogan also in Moscow recently.

Let me show our viewers this quote from Saudi Arabia's foreign minister speaking to the British newspaper The Guardian. Adel al-Jubeir

said, and I quote, "there is no future for Assad in Syria." He then went on to say that if there is no political solution, they are willing to take

on a military one, which also, and I quote, "would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power."

This quote just hours before the first of this wave of Russian intervention.

Fawaz, the wider regional battle for influence between Russia and Iran in all of this means that the Saudis, one assumes, are unlikely to step

down. Would they, though, go so far as to intervene militarily in Syria?

GERGES: No, I don't think you're going to see a direct military intervention on the part of either Saudi Arabia or Turkey for the simple

reason, because they would not intervene militarily without the American security umbrella.

And we know, Becky, you and I, that President Barack Obama has made it very clear as soon as -- I mean, just three days ago, he said that he would

not send American troops unless American vital interests are involved in Syria. He does not believe they are, point one.

Point two, the Russian intervention in Syria has already undermined any kind of direct military intervention, including safe zones. Who is

going to intervene now if you have an arsenal of Russian sophisticated air fighters, some of which basically are crossing into the Turkish air space.

Thirdly, what you're going to see -- and this is really the crux of the matter, Becky, forget public positions, you're going to see now a war,

an intensified war by proxy, even though President Barack Obama said that Syria will not become a war by proxy between the United States and Russia,

you're going to see intensified military intervention in Iraq. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the United States are going to send more arms, more

ammunition to the opposition.

We know today that the United States has already decided to supply ammunition to various Syrian opposition, the Qatari prime minister now is

in Turkey. What do you think he's discussing? He's discussing the next moves the Gulf states are going to do in Syria.

So all in all, the Russian move is not going to really cancel the military option. You're going to see an intensified and escalated war by

proxy, or wars by proxy. All sides are going to position themselves and try to gain the upper hand at the expense of the Syrian people of course,

because only the Syrian people are paying the cost of this reckless and bloody and catastrophic war.

ANDERSON: Yeah, fascinating.

All right, listen I just want to throw one last thing at you, because Turkey's NATO allies are pulling their missile defense systems out of the


Now our viewers may remember they've had them deployed along the border with Syria since 2013, but in August U.S. and German officials said

that they are no longer necessary, because the threat, they said, has shifted away from the Syrian army towards groups like ISIS.

Fawaz, it does seem difficult to understand the timing on this. Why now?

GERGES: First of all, the decision to remove the missiles had taken place before the Russian move. Point one.

Point two, the Americans say that the missiles need to be basically modernized, because they are basically an older system.

And thirdly, because I think we have to be clear about this particular point, the United States, the Obama administration has no desire and no

will to intervene militarily in Syria. In fact, the -- as you said at the beginning of your show, you said really the measured priority of the United

States and NATO is to find ways to prevent any kind of accidents with the Russian fighter jets. This is the priority, not to deploy missiles to

either deter the Russians or basically prepare for a future confrontation against the Russians fighter jets in Syria.

ANDERSON: Always a pleasure having you on, sir. Fawaz Gerges out of London for you this evening.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, Israeli police put new restrictions on Jerusalem's old city.

Who is being allowed in and who is not?

First up, though, would you eat food grown in a warehouse? Well, we look at the growing trend of urban farming.


[11:25:40] ANDERSON: Well, forget the days of fishing for seafood or growing vegetables in fields, a new project in London is producing food in

warehouses instead. For this week's Transformations, we take a look at urban farming in the city center.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From farm to forest, this is how GrowUp Urban Farms is planning to change the way big

cities are being fed. It all started here on a rooftop in Stratford, East London at the GrowUp box.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our demonstration aquaponic urban farm where we bring people to explain to them how aquaponics works and talk to them a bit

about why you might want to grow salads and fish in the city.

LU STOUT: Aquaponics is an integrated eco friendly farm system where fish are raised with plants. Here, waste water from the fish tank feeds

the plants above. And in turn, the plants clean the water that flows back into the fish tank.

SAM COX, GROWUP URBAN FARMS: We selected the shipping container for the GrowUp Box, because we wanted to have a structure which was distinctly

urban. It provides the perfect platform for the greenhouse, which sits on top. And really (inaudible) the produce that we are growing within it.

LU STOUT: GrowUp is scaling up, taking urban aquaponic farming commercial for the first time in the UK. Unit 84 is an 1,800 square meter

warehouse dedicated to sustainable food production.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really important to reconnect people who live in cities with how their food is produced. And that means growing

something close to where people in cities live, which is why we think growing in warehouses in city centers is actually a really viable option.

LU STOUT: It's located in Beckton (ph), until recently an abandoned part of Industrial London, an area undergoing a revival.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is still a community that needs more commitment by local businesses and local governments. And we'll be able to

be here developing the business and hopefully creating more jobs and growing more food for the next 10 years.

LU STOUT: GrowUp expects to deliver four tons of fish and 20 tons of greens out of unit 84 annually. Its target clientele: the local community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at restaurants, we're looking at retailers. By growing in London and selling into London that's where we

have a big advantage...

LU STOUT: One of its first customers: a restaurant chain used to importing their crops from Thailand.

SAIPHIN MOORE, CO-FOUNDER, HUGO'S THAI CAFE: They can grow exactly the same as what we grow in -- you know, from my hometown.

When they can do it, you know, over here. Why -- why I want to import them?

LU STOUT: Same day orders and customer demand also factor into the appeal of buying from an urban farm.

MOORE: They always, you know, double check and ask, you know, where you got your products from? Where you got your ingredients from? And now

we've got a story that we can tell them.

LU STOUT: In London's industrial heartland, sewing the seeds of change one bite at a time.


ANDERSON: The latest world news headlines are just ahead on this show.

Plus, Palestinian officials are expressing outrage over new restrictions in Jerusalem's old city. Why they call the move arrogant and



[11:32:35] ANDERSON: At just after half past 7:00 in the UAE, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this

hour on CNN.

And Turkey says it launched a strong condemnation after a Russian jet violated its airspace over the weekend. Turkey's prime minister later

called the violation a mistake and says that Moscow has been told it should not happen again. That is at least according to a Turkish news agency.

Now it comes as Russian hits more ISIS targets with airstrikes, nine in total according to the country's defense ministry.

A U.S. general says Afghan forces asked for an airstrike, which is thought to have killed at least 23 people in a hospital in Kunduz. The

charity Medecins Sans Frontiere is calling the bombing a war crime and demanding an independent inquiry.

12 Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, have finally come to an agreement on a controversial free trade pact. The Trans-Pacific

Partnership, or TPP, would knock down tariffs and import quotas. Now the agreement is a big part of President Obama's economic agenda and still

needs approval from Congress.

ISIS has destroyed another cultural treasure from the ancient city of Palmyra. This time is was the 1,800 year old arch of triumph, a monument

that adorned the city's entrance during Roman times. ISIS has controlled Palmyra since May.

Well, in Jerusalem's old city, Israeli authorities taking extreme action banning most Palestinians from entering the Old City.

The action was taken after a knife and gun attack that killed two Israelis and injured two others. Increased violence between Palestinians

and Israelis has escalated tensions to new heights for recent weeks. Just last weekend, an Israeli couple was shot and killed in front of their four


A week before, a Palestinian teenager was shot by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint. The latest developments are shocking and we should

warn you may be difficult to watch.

The overnight events captured on cellphone video, scenes that not only depict the horror of what happened, but also threatened to further inflame



ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Panic in the old city of Jerusalem, about 8:30 in the evening. Screams of a dying rabbi. Israeli

authorities say moments before he had attempted to defend an Israeli couple and their infant from stabbing by a 19-year-old Palestinian man.

The subsequent attack on the rabbi captured on a shaky cellphone footage by a Palestinian shop owner. Israeli police say by the time they

arrived, the attacker had grabbed the rabbi's gun. "Now they will kill him," says an off-camera voice in Arabic.

Shooting happens out of frame. Israeli police say when the teenager fired, police shot and killed him.

He was later identified as a Mohammad Halabi, a Palestinian from the West Bank. His last Facebook posting, "According to what I see, the third

intifada has started," he wrote. The rabbi and Israeli father died of their stab wounds.

In that charged atmosphere, at 2 a.m. a group of Far-right Israelis gather outside the Damascus gate of the old city. "People want revenge,"

they say. In Hebrew a young boy shouts, "Death to Arabs."

Then two hours later, a block away, another incident captured on Israeli cellphone footage. Another 19-year-old Palestinian man is seen

running along a tramline outside the old city. Followed by Israelis shouting, "He's a terrorist. Shoot him. Shoot him."

In another video you see the police arrive and you hear seven gun shots as he falls to the ground. You see a police officer pointing his gun.

Voices off-camera ask, "Did he stab someone?" Someone answers, "No. He did not succeed." "Who did he try to attack?"

Israeli police say the 19-year-old man was shot holding a knife in his hand, covered in blood. Police say he had just stabbed a 15-year-old

Israeli boy, and the shooting prevented additional attacks. Palestinians say he'd attacked no one, just got into a verbal altercation with Israelis

protesting outside Damascus gate. They say the Israeli protesters simply wanted him dead.

He was later identified as Fadi Alloun of East Jerusalem. His friends say he was peaceful, that he loved fashion and wanted to be a model. His

father says he was executed in cold blood.

For days, there have been running clashes as Palestinians protest restrictions that have prohibit Palestinian men under the age of 50 from

worshipping at the Aqsa mosque. Far-right Israelis, too, have been visiting the mosque compound.

Now stone-throwing and tear gas have escalated to stabbing and gunfire. The anger and passions captured on video, video that will likely

make tensions worse in this already tense city.


[11:37:46] ANDERSON: Well, tensions certainly high.

And now another victim, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and killed when riots broke out in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. CNN's Erin

McLaughlin is in Jerusalem for you this evening.

What do we know about this latest incident, Erin?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Becky, the situation in the West Bank certainly does seem to be escalating. Two Palestinians killed in clashes in the last

24 hours, the latest you mentioned there a 13-year-old boy in the Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem.

Israeli officials -- sorry, Palestinian residents of the refugee camp say that the boy was walking with his friend to play football after school

when clashes broke out. They say he was trying to hide when Israeli forces opened fire. He was shot in the chest.

Now Israeli military saying that a riot did break out. They're saying that the aggression persisted when they tried to disperse the riot. That's

when they opened fire, they say, at the main instigators. They acknowledge the Palestinian death. They say the situation -- or the incident is under

review, but certainly goes to show that things in the West Bank are getting worse -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Erin McLaughlin is in Jerusalem this evening.

I'm going to return to one of our top stories, Syria's brutal civil war.

Over the four year conflict, the opposition has tried without success to drive President Bashar al-Assad from power. I want to take look back

now at some of the key dates in that struggle.

In August of 2011, dissidents formed the Syrian National Council. It became part of the larger Syrian National Coalition, which won the backing

of Gulf states and the west as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

However, the group became deeply divided, struggling to unite different factions. And by July of 2012, western-backed moderate forces

like the Free Syrian Army were overshadowed by radical fighters who gained the upper hand on the battlefield.

And as we heard Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov allude to today, the FSA never really recovered their leading role and are today a

controversial player in the conflict.

One rebel group that did extremely well was ISIS. In March of 2013, the terror group moved into the northeastern city of Raqqa, which became

its de facto capital. Today, there's a patchwork of rebel groups and Jihadi forces fighting each other and the government while Syria's

neighbors and Russia and the west are increasingly drawn into the conflict.

So at the beginning of the uprising, a Syrian plastic surgeon all the way in Beverly Hills in California felt compelled to join the opposition

against al-Assad. Dr. Max Sawaf eventually rose to prominence in the Syrian National Council, but his hopes turned to despair in the face of

internal bickering and the west's inertia.

I sat down with Dr. Sawaf recently in Dubai.


[11:40:47] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Assad said it will never happen in Syria. It started with kids and they pulled their nails, because they

wrote on the walls in Daraa (ph) "now it's your turn, Bashar."

HILLARY CLINTON, FRM. U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I am convinced that Assad's days are numbered. I just regret deeply that there will be more

killing before he finally goes.

DR. MAX SAWAF, FRM. MEMBER SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL: When they said Assad is not legitimate and he should go and there's no solution with him

in power, et cetera, we all got encouraged. I was on the finance committee of the Syrian National Council. I organized basically the financial

assistance that we -- that they desperately needed.

They couldn't open a bank account. They were not recognized.

ANDERSON: The international community, the friends of Syria, saw the SNC as not the soul, but the legitimate representative of the Syrian

opposition. Max, what went wrong?

SAWAF: Too many donors, too many agenda. Within the Syrian National Council, I would say, a third meant well and truly were sincere and two-

thirds were just enjoying the fame, first time traveling, being in five star hotels, et cetera.

But certainly the Friends of Syria weren't sincere in helping out, because they could have chosen many good Syrians, western educated, open,

non-sectarian to deal with them.

What they say you should unite. You don't represent all of Syrians. OK, so we go and add more and more. And the bigger it got, the more

difficult it was to reach any decision, the more difficult it was to meet, the more expensive it is to meet and so forth.

So -- and then they would say, no, it's too big. We want it smaller.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: A top Syrian opposition group claims it captured these missiles in Damascus and said they had been

adapted to carry chemical and biological warheads.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being


SAWAF: When the red line that President Obama said was violated multiple times with impunity, I realized I have nothing else to do with

politics and I wanted to concentrate on the millions of refugees and children.

ANDERSON: Is this conflict, this ongoing conflict convenient for some of the stakeholders?

SAWAF: For many people, yes. Unfortunately, including some of the Syrian opposition members who if the conflict is over they are unemployed.

ANDERSON: Who do you blame?

SAWAF: It's a huge agenda of many, many parties. The Russians played a bad. The Iranians played a bad role. Hezbollah is playing a bad role.

And I always say we've -- we met the enemy and it's us. I think a lot of the Syrians are also to blame.


ANDERSON: Dr. Sawaf who turned his back on the political process in 2012.

He now does devote his efforts to helping Syrian refugees. And if you'd like to help do go to the website There we've got links to

a variety of organizations that are providing direct relief to the millions of Syrians who have fled their homes.

Remember, half of that population is now displaced either internally or externally.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up for you, we join the former Iraqi lawmaker who is risking her

life to rescue the Yazidi girls from the clutches of ISIS. That special report from Iraq is up next.


[11:48:07] ANDERSON: Right, you're back with us on CNN. All this week as part of our ongoing Freedom Project to end the scourge that is

modern-day slavery, we're looking at the plight of the Yazidi community in parts of Iraq and in Syria.

Compelled to give them a voice, we are hoping to expose the inhumane treatment of women and girls in particular, many have been captured as

spoils of war, raped and even sold into sex slavery by ISIS militants.

My colleague Atika Shubert reports on one former Yazidi lawmaker in Iraq who was risking her life to help rescue the thousands being held

captive by ISIS.




ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sound is muffled, crackly, barely audible. But this is a lifeline, a

way to plot an escape from slavery from ISIS. Every day, Amina takes calls like this, pleas for help to escape. Hassan now makes it her mission to

rescue as many women as she can. She remembers when ISIS first captured Mosul. She thought the Yazidi near Sinjar would be safe.

HASSAN: We said why would they come into Sinjar because is only not anything.

SHUBERT: But ISIS did come for the Yazidi. They took the women and children and killed men. Many of the families turned to Amina Hassan.

HASSAN: The people know me, and I'm from Sinjar, and also I'm Yazidi. I know many people kidnapped.

SHUBERT: This audio recording was one of her first rescues. A 35- year-old woman with six children all captured, bought and sold in the slave

markets of ISIS.


SHUBERT: She described what happened when is surrounded their village.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They have taken seven members of my family alone. They loaded two big trucks from the village

and took them somewhere, I don't know where. When they were loading people on the truck, a woman started arguing with them, so they killed her.

CHURCH: Together with her husband, Khalil, Amina manages a network to smuggle the women out. She takes the calls. Khalil makes the dangerous

journey to the border to bring them out.

These are photos of just some of the rescues. So far, they have brought out more than 100. But there are still hundreds more. And for many,

the wait is too long. Some have taken their own lives rather than wait for rescue. Hassan collects photos of the girls she could not save.

HASSAN: We just want them to be rescued. We don't have contact with them. We don't know where they are now.

SHUBERT (on camera): You try to talk to them so they don't lose hope?

HASSAN: When they lose the hope to rescue, and when ISIS, many times sell them and rape them.



SHUBERT: Amina Hassan's work has been recognized, awarded by the State Department this year. But Hassan says it's the voices of the people she

could not save she can't forget.

HASSAN: When will you rescue us? But I don't have answer. I don't have answer. I'm not the government. I'm not anything. I'm just people. It's

very difficult.

SHUBERT: Hassan's weapon against ISIS is her film, delivering the sound of hope, however distant, and her promise that help is coming.

Atika Shubert, CNN, in the Kurdish region of Iraq.


ANDERSON: And our week long coverage on the plight of the Yazidis continues on Tuesday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He showed me a letter and said, "this shows any captured woman will become Muslim if 10 ISIS fighters

rape her.

SHUBERT: Then, Noor (ph) says, he raped her.


ANDERSON: Three Yazidi girls who were ISIS sex slaves provide a firsthand account of the brutality of the terror group. Watch that Tuesday

on Connect the World here on CNN at this time. A truly tragic reality facing the Yazidi population in Iraq and Syria. And remember all this

week, we are covering their remarkable stories of courage and resistance on the web as well. Head to to find exclusive reports from the CNN

Freedom Project and its bid to raise awareness for Yazidi women.

We'll be back after this.


[11:56:32] ANDERSON: Tonight's Parting Shots, then, and we wanted to take you out of this world, quite literally. Over the weekend millions

around the world went to the theaters to see The Martian, a thriller starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Well, now here is a fun fact for you, before The Martian became a Hollywood blockbuster, it was an internet sensation. It was a novel

written by Andy Weir, a computer programmer. He first published it on his blog chapter by chapter.

Good lad.

Inspired by the mysteries of the Red Planet, or indeed by the author of The Martian? Let us know. The Team at Connect the World also wants to

hear from you. Send us your thoughts, ideas, feedback by going to the Facebook page. That's You can watch all of our

reports and use there again as well. And you can get in touch and tweet me @BeckyCNN -- @BeckyCNN. Enjoy getting everything that you want to throw at


I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. From the team here in the UAE, and those working with us around the world, a very good