Return to Transcripts main page


CNN On The Front Lines In War-Torn Aleppo; Munich Considered Crucial Moment In Peace Process; Price Of Oil Drops Below $27 A Barrel; Euro Markets Dragged Down By Poor Bank Performance; Clinton Endorsed By Congressional Black Caucus; Sanders Campaign Ad Appeals To Minority Voters; State Governor: 52 Killed In Mexico Prison Riot; Senior North Korean Official Executed; Will OPEC Cut Production?. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 11, 2016 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:33] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. Live from CNN London. A busy hour ahead. Thanks for being with us. This is


Well, we have been telling you about the regime's assault on rebel forces in Aleppo. Rebels have been entrenched in about half of the once busy

commercial hub of Syria.

The regime backed by Russian air power is in the midst of an offensive that could be a turning point in the civil war.

Now CNN is taking you to the frontline. Here's Fred Pleitgen's exclusive report from inside Aleppo.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Years of urban combat have laid waste to Aleppo's old town. Syrian Army

snipers scan the terrain for possible movement on the other side.

(on camera): We're on the frontline in the Syrian's government's offensive against the opposition and the soldiers here tell us they still frequently

see rebels on the other side, but they also say they often pick them off from the sniper's nest.

(on camera): This soldier tells me moral has never been higher. Thanks to God everything here is under control he says. Our fingers are on the

triggers ready to destroy the rebels.

Bashar al-Assad's forces have made major gains in the Aleppo area in recent weeks while the opposition rebels say they're simply being slaughtered.

But for years, this battlefield was in a stalemate, the frontline right around Aleppo's ancient citadel. As Syrian and Russian war planes hover

overhead, the commander knows who to thank for the new found momentum.

It's only a matter of months now until we win, he says, thanks to the Russian support with their air strikes flown from the Syrian airfield. We

will defeat the rebels once and for all.

Aleppo was Syria's largest and one of its most historic towns, tourists from all over the world used to flock to the old town before it was

engulfed by Syria's brutal civil war.

(on camera): The town of Aleppo is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some of these buildings are hundreds if not thousands of years old. As you can see

most of them completely destroyed and burned out.

(voice-over): But now Assad's troops believe they are on the verge of a decisive victory. The commander warns the U.S. not to interfere.

We are steadfast he says, you cannot defeat the Syrian Army because we are determined to win and loyal to President Assad. Amid this divided and

destroyed city, the forces believe they're dealing a crushing blow to the opposition, one that could end this five-year civil war that's destroyed so

much more than just the landscape.


GORANI: Heartbreaking images from Aleppo. Such a beautiful city and certainly some of its most important treasures now essentially reduced to a

pile of rubble.

That was CNN senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, who is back in Damascus this evening. I'm also joined by CNN international diplomatic

editor, Nic Robertson in Munich. That's where Russian, American, and U.N. officials are meeting.

Could it be a make or break moment for the peace process? Let's begin with you, Fred. First of all, how close is the regime to regaining control of

Aleppo here?

PLEITGEN: Well, I think that the rebel-controlled part of Aleppo I think it would still take quite a long time for the regime to be able to take

over that.

But I also think that the regime is really trying to position itself for something else, which appears to be a longer term siege of the rebel

controlled part of Aleppo.

I've also managed to get to the north of Aleppo province, which is, of course, above the town towards the Turkish border and the Syrian regime

really appears to be forcing and pushing the offensive there most of all.

There were a lot of air strikes going on when we were there. There was a lot of action of course on the battlefield as well.

And it seems as though the Syrian regime is trying to move closer and closer to closing that circle that it has around the areas to stop weapons

getting in through the border.

Commanders told us they want to get all the way to the Turkish border and take the land. In some places they are quite close to the border with

Turkey and some cases around 25 maybe 30 kilometers away from ceiling that place off -- Hala.

[15:05:03]GORANI: OK, let's -- Nic Robertson, you're in Munich. There is an attempt at bringing the parties back to the negotiating table at the end

of the month of February. Any progress there?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There's still about 2- 1/2 hours or so, Hala, into the main meeting here, the International Syria Support Group. There you have both U.N. representatives, Arab League,

European Union, but also most of the gulf nations.

You have Iran, Saudi Arabia, and you have a lot of European countries, France, Germany, Italy, and (inaudible). The United States, of course, and

Russia and Turkey as well, all key players here involved and having a state in the future of Syria.

So it's too soon to say. What we have heard already today is Russia has said that it's willing to talk about a ceasefire. The date that we have

heard floating around is the 1st of March.

We have heard from the opposition, heard from the United States that that's just too far away. That's a concern, if Russia is serious they should put

that ceasefire into place earlier.

But we're also hearing that the humanitarian access, very important to the opposition here, could become a key thing that we might see momentum on

that might mean we could get closer than what's getting those talks back on track. The U.N. hopes it could even be over the next week or so.

GORANI: All right, March 1st, it's February 11th, even if that does go into effect we're talking about at least another 19 days of bombardment.

Fred, I want to ask you. You're talking about a potential siege situation of rebel-held areas in Aleppo. Essentially what that means is choking off

the people who live in those areas. But that also means hundreds of thousands of civilians doesn't it?

PLEITGEN: Well certainly. There's certainly are a lot of civilians who are still inside the rebel-controlled part of Aleppo. So that is certainly

one of the major concerns that that international aid organizations have and it is very real.

And if you look at the rebel held part of Aleppo, a lot of that is really very much destroyed already. So you're not talking about a city just

getting choked off, about a city that's already seen five years of war, already been destroyed to a great extent and that could now face more


I have to tell you, Hala, one of the tragic things that we saw when we were in Aleppo even on the government side, but it goes for both sides. I mean,

these are people who have been on the frontline of some of the most brutal fighting in the civil war for five years.

We could see the psychological affects and physical effects on the people there. We could so many people who were simply sick of it and who just

simply wanted peace and quiet.

So it's already taken a great toll on these people and for some of them it really does appear as though things could get a lot worse in the coming

weeks -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Fred Pleitgen in Damascus reporting from inside Aleppo. Nic Robertson is in Munich following talks there at the Munich

Security Conference. Thanks to both of you for joining us on this important story.

Also, one of the things we are looking at for you is this continuous selloff on world markets. Investors are just anxious. Every day you think

maybe this is the day that stocks bounce back.

That people sort of look at the fundamentals and realize stocks have been oversold. Today is not that day. Take a look at the Dow Jones Industrial

Average, down 286 right now, 15,628.

Crashing oil prices are driving a lot of the market turmoil. Crude dipped to its lowest level since May of 2003. They are under $30. Brent Crude

trading now at 29.97.

Markets in Europe are dragging as well. Max Foster is here to talk about that and Alison Kosik joins us from the New York Stock Exchange.

Alison, I want to start with you. What is going on? Because I keep looking at corporate results. Of course, you know you have some of these

corporations who are readjusting their outlook but it's nothing dramatic, right? So why are markets reacting this way?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Well, these dramatic moves that we've been seeing today especially in the past half hour are directly

because of oil prices. Now, we did see stocks, Hala, bounce off their lows. We did see the Dow down as much as 400 points earlier.

That's after a report that OPEC members might be ready to cooperate on cutting oil production. The "Wall Street Journal" is citing the UAE's

energy minister who actually tweeted this saying, "OPEC is ready to cooperate on a cut, but current prices already forcing non-OPEC producers

to at least have output."

So the market seems to be reacting to the first part of that tweet and not paying attention to the latter part meaning that some of these non-OPEC

producers have already inadvertently cut their output.

So it's unclear if there's going to be an outright cut by OPEC on oil production. Keep in mind, there is a lot of skepticism surrounding this.

We did see the Dow come back quite a bit.

[15:10:02]Now it's falling again now that the skeptics are coming out and saying this may or may not be true. But Keep in mind, the big reason that

we've seen this huge plunge in oil prices over the past couple of years is because of too much supply and not enough demand and OPEC unwillingness to

cut oil production.

So once again we'll see if OPEC in fact does do that. This as we see oil prices at 20 -- a little under $27 not really bouncing back as much as we

saw when this report first came out -- Hala.

GORANI: OK, Alison, standby just one moment. I want to ask you one more question about oil. This is hurting Europe, hurting European banks as

well. Deutsche Bank for instance suffering today.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The markets are driven by fear. There's this real fear at the moment. We are talking there about oil prices. We

have had China, of course, where is that going to go? Eurozone is in a terrible state as well. And as you say now people are looking at the

banking sector, they are missing their estimates.

If we bring out Deutsche Bank, for example, the last week, its share price, one of those powerful backs of the world, crucial to the European economy

as well.

If you think that Europe is still a very banking based economy. The share price flying up and down on this volatility but generally heading

downwards. Missing its profit estimates was down like 13 percent today.

That's a picture on the week. And the psychology of investors and analysts is that if the banking sector is at risk where on earth are we going to put

our money?

There's this sense that the central banks haven't really got a grip of this. The European Central Bank going into negative interest rates and

rather people that's a really positive. They are thinking what on earth do the ECB know that we don't. This is scary stuff. We have got to get out.

GORANI: OK, and speaking of interest rates, Alison, Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve has been speaking clearly. Whatever

she's saying is not reassuring markets.

KOSIK: Right. You're talking about Fed Chief Janet Yellen. She was back on Capitol Hill today for the second day of testimony. Yes, you're right.

A big topic of discussion, Hala, was the possibility of negative rates.

And for those don't know that's when central banks charge other banks who deposit money and what it's meant to do is to get banks to lend more and to

juice the economy.

Now what Yellen said is that she won't take negative rates off the table, but at this point the U.S. economy isn't in bad enough shape to need that.

So although the fed chief is saying, you know, we're sort of being your safety net, it still wasn't good enough for investors to get them to buy

into the market because we have been seeing sharp red arrows all day -- Hala.

GORANI: OK, Alison Kosik in New York. Max Foster, you'll be hosting "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." You'll be looking at European banks and also

whether or not there's anything to this perhaps people reading between the lines, this idea that there might be a supply cut from OPEC. Either way it

will have an impact on markets. We'll see you in about 48 minutes. See you later, Max.

All right, Democrat Hillary Clinton gets a big endorsement from most of the Congressional Black Caucus. The move could certainly impact her chances in

the next primary in South Carolina. We'll have all the latest on the race for the White House coming up next. Stay with us.



GORANI: To the race for the White House, another debate. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off again at Thursday night's presidential

debate in Wisconsin as Joe Johns tells us Sanders is working to build on his big win in the New Hampshire primary.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bernie Sanders raising over $6 million in the 24 hours after polls closed in New


Gaining momentum before tonight's crucial PBS Democratic presidential debate. Descending on New York City in a victory lap celebrating his

sweeping win in Tuesday's primary bringing his message to the late show with Stephen Colbert.

BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our campaign finance system, our election system and our economy is essentially owned and controlled by

a relatively small number of people whose greed in my view is really wreaking havoc with the middle class of this country.

JOHNS: And to daytime talker, "The View."

SANDERS: This country is supposed to be a nation of (inaudible) --

JOHNS: Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton laying comparatively low after her crushing defeat. No longer the undisputed Democratic frontrunner tonight's

critical debate could help get her campaign back on track. The former secretary of state making already changes promising a more aggressive edge.

The challenge for Sanders going forward will be capturing the African- American vote, a key piece of the Democratic electorate in the pivotal South Carolina primary later this month. According to the African-American

vote, Sanders took his campaign to Harlem Tuesday meeting with civil rights leader, Al Sharpton.


GORANI: Well, that was Joe John's reporting. Will that make a difference this effort by Bernie Sanders to try to capture some minority votes,

specifically the African-American vote in the United States?

So Hillary Clinton could get a boost from African-American voters in South Carolina following today's big endorsement by most of the Congressional

Black Caucus.

Paul Brathwaite is the former director of the caucus and he is now principle with the Padesta Group and he joins me from Washington. Thanks

for being with us.

Let me ask you this. We have shown our viewers over the last several weeks and months various surveys and polls indicating that Hillary Clinton has

really a crushing lead with African-Americans in this presidential race. Can you explain to our viewers why that is?

PAUL BRATHWAITE, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Well, Hala, thanks for having me on. I think it goes back to her ten-year

-- all the way back when she was first lady of the United States. Many of the members of Congress who endorsed her today have known her since she

came to Washington in 1992.

And for many they actually knew her from when she was a first lady of the state of Arkansas, which also has a very large African-American population

as well.

And so, you know, throughout her career, there have been instances where she has aligned herself to work with many African-Americans. She had an

African-American chief of staff when she was first lady.

She had an African-African chief of staff when she was secretary of state. And as I said, she's worked with many of the elected officials who endorsed

her today for a number of years.

GORANI: Now, Bernie Sanders, her rival who did extremely well in New Hampshire knows she has a problem with African-American voters. He's not

getting as much of their support as he wants or needs.

In that spirit -- I want to show our viewers, he's released a campaign commercial. We'll show a short clip and then I'll get your thoughts on his

strategy in just a moment.


SANDERS: If we do not allow them to divide us up by race by sexual orientation, by gender, by not allowing them to divide us up by whether or

not we were born in America or whether we're immigrants, we stand together.


GORANI: So there you have it. He's doing really all he can strategically to try to reach those African-American voters. Do you think any of that

will work for him?

BRATHWAITE: Well, look, I think that's actually a brilliant ad. You know, it's common place to say united we stand, divided we fall, and I think

that's right. I think that any elected official or anyone seeking to be president of the United States must be able to speak to all of the people

of America.

[15:20:08]And I would encourage all of the candidates as they go and seek votes, I mean, you have got to tailor your message obviously to the

audience that you have and as you said, Hala, that the constituency in the demographic in the states that come next in South Carolina and Nevada and

many of the states across the south of the United States are more diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire by leaps and bounds quite frankly.

And so it is going to be incumbent upon them to tailor their messages and speak to people to the issues that are important to them. But they're not

much different than all the other issues.

I mean, we're talking about education, health care, jobs, better pay, really bread and butter kitchen table issues --

GORANI: I was going to say that's why I'm puzzled that there is such a gap because I mean, in the end, like him or not Bernie Sanders has a message

that is a message to American people that there's too much inequality and too many special interests.

And he wants to raise the minimum wage and the university to be much more affordable if not free, et cetera. Why is that not reaching minority

voters do you think?

BRATHWAITE: Well, you know, look, I think he's got to keep saying whatever it is that he's saying in terms of his message. Sometimes it's not only

the message, it's the messenger.

And when you have someone with a head start you're playing catchup and you know, the African-American community has known President Clinton as

president. He was fondly referred to as the first black president of the United States until President Obama was elected.

So you know, you can't erase that history. Many people relate to her. But again, you know, what Senator Sanders has to do is make his case as

affirmatively as he can and see what comes of it.

He really is having to play catchup and it's kind of hard to play catchup when someone has such a long tenure ahead of you in terms of, you know,

real relationships.

I mean, you know, if you have known someone for 15 years and you worked with them, and you know, you have done different things with them.

And quite, frankly, I think the biggest trump card for Secretary Clinton is the fact that President Clinton -- President Obama selected her to be a

secretary of state. I think that's one of the things that the polls won't really pull out, but I do think it is to her benefit.

GORANI: And Paul, real quickly, you see the Democratic -- you think Hillary Clinton will be the nominee or do you think she should be worried?

BRATHWAITE: You know, I think time will tell. I think what's going to be most important is --

GORANI: OK. You got out of that one.

BRATHWAITE: Thank you.

GORANI: But at a second part to that question. But probably right? I imagine. Yes.

BRATHWAITE: But, you know, she has to be considered the favorite right now.


BRATHWAITE: But again, you know, the voting -- we have only done two states so far. Time will definitely tell. You know, in my household I've

got one young boy who tells me that Bernie is doing well and one boy tells me Hillary is doing really well and if daddy picks one side or the other

one is going to be mad with me.

GORANI: You are in trouble if you do that. A house divided. Well, at least everyone is interested in politics, which is a good thing. Paul

Brathwaite, thanks very much for joining us. Really appreciate your time on CNN.

We will bring you the PBS News Hour Democratic presidential debate on Friday at 12:00 p.m. in London, 1:00 p.m. Central European Time on CNN.

Tune in for that.

To Mexico now where more than 50 people, this is just a shocking number, 50 people are dead after an overnight prison riot, which officials say started

as a fight between leaders of rival gangs.

It happened at the Topo Chico prison in the northeastern city of Monterrey and it comes just ahead of a visit to Mexico by Pope Francis.

Let's bring Shasta Darlington. She is in Mexico City with the latest. That is just a shocking death toll, Shasta. How did it get so bad?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Hala, and it really caught authorities off guard. It started overnight. It was rival gangs.

One of them led by the Zetas drug cartel. They lashed out at each other. Things got seriously out of control.

They lit part of the prison on fire and it was just hours of anguish for family members, of course, rushed to the scene to try and figure out what

was going on. They saw rescue workers pulling burnt inmates out of the prison.

According to some of the family members that CNN Espanol spoke to, they didn't get any information from authorities. They say they were laughed

at. It's a difficult situation for them.

And then coming just a day before Pope Francis touches down in Mexico, he of course is going to be traveling to some of the most dangerous corners of

the country.

[15:25:06]Including another prison where there was a bloody riot in 2009, 20 people were killed there. So this really raises the question about how

well and how prepared authorities are to secure Pope Francis and how secure their institutions are.

You know, interestingly, the pope himself sent a video message to Mexicans before he came saying he wasn't going to ignore the problems. He would

highlight them, the violence and the corruption, and the authorities got angry. Now they're really having to cover themselves here -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, thank you, Shasta Darlington, in Mexico City. This is the WORLD RIGHT NOW.

Coming up, major scientific discovery. We'll break down new evidence that supports a century-old theory about the fabric of space and time. Yes, it

is all that. It really is.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have detected gravitational waves. We did it.


GORANI: A few hours ago, you might never have heard of gravitational waves, but in a major breakthrough scientists say they are a reality and

they could open up a new era in astronomy. Rachel Crane explains for you.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The waves technically are described as ripples in the fabric of space and time, but they're also thought to be the

holy grail of modern physics.

For over a century physicists have been trying to confirm the existence of gravitational waves. One of the last remaining pieces of Einstein's theory

of relativity.

In 1915, Einstein introduced his general theory of relatively and the notion of gravitational waves hit the physic scene the following year.

Einstein proposed that accelerating masses such as two neutron stars or two black holes cause distortions in the fabric of the universe.

When those masses eventually merge, they set off a cataclysmic event that shoots off tons of gravitational waves into space. He predicted that these

waves travel across the cosmos at the speed of light changing the shapes of the matter they encounter.

In theory, these waves would eventually hit earth, but their detection has eluded us. An observatory called LIGO has been using the most

sophisticated optics, lasers, and seismic isolation since 1988 to find them.

MIT and Cal Tech operate twin detectors that are located in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington. The detectors are shaped like an L and

they shooting lasers down vacuum tubes that are 2.5 miles long.

If gravitational waves pass through the detector, the distance the laser beams travel changes by a very small amount. I'm talking about 10 to the

negative 19 meters or less.

Why this all this matter? Well, unlike electromagnetic radiation, like radio waves and invisible light, gravitational waves are unimpeded by


So as they travel through the universe, they don't interact with matter. They slice right through it and remain pristine remnants of the past.

By observing gravitational waves we may be able to understand that some of the fundamental questions about how our world works.


GORANI: There you have it. All caught up on gravitational waves. A big day in astronomy.

Coming up, we'll look at the risk facing medical professionals, rescuers, first respondents, anyone in the hospital in Syria. I will ask if the

hospitals are intentionally targeted in Syria's civil war.



GORANI: Welcome back. A look at our top stories. As the fighting in Syria rages on world powers are meeting in Munich hoping to keep a very fragile

peace process on track if it could be called that.


GORANI: The United States and Russia among a host of nations taking part, these are all the stakeholders as they're called. Russia has reportedly

proposed a cease-fire to start on March 1st.


GORANI: A fight between rival gangs inside a prison led to a riot and fire that killed more than 50 people in Mexico according to authorities.


GORANI: It happened at the Topo Chico prison in the northeastern city of Monterey. The violence comes just ahead of a visit to Mexico by Pope



GORANI: And we're following this story, Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders face each other in less than six hours

in the debate following Sanders win in New Hampshire.


GORANI: CNN will bring you a live simulcast of this PBS debate. It's taking place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


GORANI: Also among the interesting stories we have our eye on, a senior North Korean military leader has been executed according to a South Korean

government official.

Ri Yong-gil was killed for "factionalism, misuse of authority and corruption" the official charge. It is unclear when Ri was executed. He

was reportedly appointed to the high ranking position in 2013. Paula Hancocks has more from Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jang Sung-taek, de facto number two and the North Korean leader's uncle executed for treason.

Kim Kwangjun, Defense Minister believed publically executed for treason. General Ri Yong-ho Chief of Staff dismissed, status unknown. And now

General Ri Yong-gil, another Chief of Staff believed executed for misuse of authority and treason. Promoted to Military Chief in August 2013, Ri

accompanied Kim Jong-un to military drills. He was last mentioned in state run media the early part of January. But what does the latest purge tell us

of Kim's control.

DAVID KANG, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: In the larger context it is more about - I see it as more strength. He's now into his fourth year of

rule. He clearly is in charge and he's getting rid of a lot of these guys.

HANCOCKS: Kim Kwangjun, a North Korean defector formerly handling the finances of the late leader, Kim Jung-il questions whether the young leader

is in charge.

KIM KWANGJUN, NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY: Kim Jong-un still didn't get good control of the military and still he has to kill the top, you know,

generals of the military and that means he has no confidence in the military and very suspicious of them. He has no confidence in his command

and authority.

HANCOCKS: There is agreement however on the high number of executions Kim Jong-un has ordered. As of April last year South Korean intelligence

estimated more than 80 top officials had been killed on the young leader's orders.

Kim Jong-un is holding a Railworkers Party Congress in May, the first in 36 years. Experts say that he's trying to strengthen his party and himself

ahead of that by launching a satellite, by carrying out a nuclear test and also by purging a top official he likely did not trust.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


GORANI: All right. Back to Syria. Imagine having your home turned into a battlefield. That is the reality for so many Syrians still trying to live

inside cities like Aleppo that have been in part reduced to rubble.

Medical and food aid are crucial to those people's lives but as Arwa Damon reports, the continued fighting has made it impossible for them to depend

on the most basic of necessities.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Getting humanitarian aid into Aleppo is harder and riskier than ever. Mercy Corp is the largest

provider to Northern Syria after the United Nations. This aid, if this doesn't get inside how many people are left hungry?


DALIA AL-AWQATI, MERCY CORPS. NORTHERN SYRIA DIRECTOR OF PROGRAM: Well if we're consistently unable to get aid inside, this is destined for Aleppo

behind me, for Aleppo City in particular where we serve 66,000 a month with assistance. So if we're not able to get into Aleppo City it will be 66,000

people that are unable to get the food that they depend on to meet their day to day needs.

DAMON: And how have you had to adjust your route ever since the main road here got cut off?

AL-AWQATI: Well we've had to change our routes on the main road between Azaz and Aleppo City, so the main route north of Aleppo City which is the

most direct route and the easiest route of course is cut off and has been for almost a week now. So we now have to go through the western route.

Going through Idlib (inaudible) all the way around so a longer route and more inconsistent route and ultimately a riskier route as well.

DAMON: How have you had to adjust what you're doing?

AL AWQATI: Well, essentially what we're having to do is speed everything up. So more deliveries into the northern Aleppo government to meet the

needs of - of the immediate needs people of course and then increased deliveries into Aleppo city just so we're sure we're able to preposition

stocks to make sure food assistance for up to three months is available inside of the Aleppo city should the routes be cut. It's a very difficult

time for Syrians, it's a very difficult time for civilians in particular. It's been a - it's been a long conflict, it's been a very difficult

conflict and ultimately the toll is on civilians. So they are the people that are most impacted and for Syrians today there's an overwhelming sense

of frustration, and there's an overwhelming sense of despair.

DAMON: Despair that grows by the day as everyone braces themselves and tries to prepare for the seemingly imminent battle for Aleppo.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Kilis, Turkey.


GORANI: The International Criminal Court calls intentionally attacking a hospital a war crime. Monitoring groups say Syria's hospitals seem to be

increasingly at risk.


GORANI: Medicine Sans Frontier says that their field hospital near (Durra), Syria was bombed last week. This is an MSF image of the exterior of that

hospital in Tafas. MSF says three people were killed and six others including a nurse were injured.

Here you see a room inside the facility after the February 5th air strike. The images from this event are limited, we cannot independently confirm

them. Let's talk more now about just how dangerous it is to try to practice medicine in Syria.


GORANI: Joanne Liu is the International President for MSF for Doctors Without Borders. She joins us now live via Skype from Munich. Thanks for

joining us Joanne.

First of all, tell us a little bit about -- you're in constant touch with medical professionals and volunteers inside Syria. What life is like for

those operating in the war zone there?

JOANNE LIU, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, MSF: Right now the situation is really grave and then today I talked to one of our medical staff and basically

what he told me he said Joanne, what is going on right now in Syria is we have been under attack more for the last five years but now the only thing

we want to do is to flee. He says we're the toughest. We have been in (inaudible) war for the last five years and now the only thing is to flee.

There's no other way out for the time being. He said we tried to do our job but the thing is right now we have just seen over the last two weeks three

of our hospitals were air striked.

GORANI: And these are - I mean you are in touch I know at MSF often with authorities, with the military, you give them coordinates, you tell them

where you're operating. Is that the case in Syria?

LIU: It's exactly the same case. But I think at this point we have crossed I would say the line of what, you know, the rules of war, the conduct of

(inaudible). Right now all the rules are broken and something needs to be reestablished because we cannot continue as we are doing now. We cannot do

our work as physician and actually today asking for humanitarian to fly in. Of course it's necessary but it's almost obscene when you see the gravity

of how much civilians are under attack today.

GORANI: And Physicians of Human Rights has put together a map that I want to show our viewers which is shocking.


GORANI: A map showing that medical facilities inside Syria were hit by air strikes 112 times between January and November 2015. I mean, hospitals here

appear definitely to be deliberately targeted in Syria.


LIU: Yes. Well, the hospital has been targeted, and many of them are not functioning. 13 of our facilities that we know from our network. But

right now I think that in the magnitude of the crisis I think we cannot overemphasize how much civilians have been under attack and how much today

they have no more choices. And I think, you know, the Support Syria meeting in London was somehow a bit I would say an hypocritical meeting.


LIU: They passed the buck to the Turkish government giving them $2 billion and just say you know take care of the Syrian who are trying to leave. But

the reality, it has a dramatic domino effect today. And what do we see today, we thousands (inaudible) basically packing themselves and getting

stuck at the border just waiting for the war to stop. Something got to happen over the next few days in Munich.

GORANI: And we, just to give our viewers other examples because these are the ones we have been able to find some sort of documentation to support

from inside Syria which is hard to come by since independent journalism has become virtually impossible there.

Other examples, there was a (Homs) hospital that was targeted with a double tap. A hospital in (inaudible) in November. And we have video of the (Homs)

example I think just to give our viewers a sense of how bad it is.

So Joanne, have we seen the video here? Just one moment. We're racking that up. What needs to happen here? I mean what do - what do organizations what

do they need to do for this to stop?


LIU: Well I think for us what we need to do, our organization, we're going to be due to continue what we are doing but the reality is we are impaired

to do it and it's really hard today to deliver humanitarian aid.

We're concerned about what's going in Aleppo because we are - pray that it might be the next (inaudible). And so we were so I would say shocked of

those children but, you know, we cannot allow this to happen.

So for me the clear message is we have to stop the bombing and the fighting against civilians. They need to be allowed to flee. That is their basic

right when your life is at stake. You should have the right to flee, you should have the right to find a safe place and get the basic services.


LIU: This is not happening. And of course to know yes we need to be able to deliver aid. But at this stage with the magnitude of the crisis, this is a

small band aid over what is going on in Syria today.

GORANI: All right. Joanne Liu, the head of Medicines San Frontier with some very frank talk here that needs to be heard I think on the situation there,

on the targeting of civilians and hospitals as well. Thanks so much for joining us from Munich here with your thoughts this evening.

All right. Let's turn our attention now to another story we've been following. We were telling you a little bit about the price of oil that

there was some chatter out there that perhaps OPEC, the oil producing cartel would agree to cut production in order to boost prices. Let's get

details from our emerging markets editor, John Defterios. He joins me live from Abu Dhabi.

John, what are you -- what are you hearing about this. Is this something OPEC is seriously considering and if so, when would it happen?


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well it's interesting Hala looking at the quote here from Suhail Mazrouei who's the UAE Minister of

Energy and it looks like the market paid very close attention to the front half of his quote and less attention to the second half.

He's saying OPEC is ready to cooperate on the cut but, and this is the big but current prices are already forcing non-OPEC producers to at least half

their outputs. So he's saying the OPEC strategy has been working, we've seen non-OPEC production, particularly U.S. shale production, some of the

deep water production in the Gulf of Mexico for example coming off the market. In fact in the last month we saw 200,000 barrels come off the

market. But he's saying if other producers, very large producers like Russia are willing to cut their production that OPEC would do the same.

I just want to remind our viewers that two weeks ago I had a senior Gulf source from here in the region, from the largest producer in the region

saying exactly the same thing. We're willing to cut but the other major producers need to do the same. And they think the Saudi led strategy which

was to flood the market with crude but because of the low cost producers would drive production out. So last year we saw about half a million

barrels of non-OPEC production particularly in the United States to come off the market. It's expected that another 500,000 to 700,000 barrels will

come by the end of this year. In fact last month we saw 200,000 barrels come off according to the International Energy Agency, that report that

came out this week.

We heard the Russians this week suggesting that the market is oversupplied by a million barrels a day. But Hala, no-one saying concretely, all cut 5%

and the other producers suggesting all cut 5%, that was the proposal by the Venezuelans last week.


DEFTERIOS: It hasn't materialized yet but this is a market that's been sold down to a 13-year low. So they took the first half of that phrase, OPEC is

ready to cooperate on a cut. This is something the market does know, they're trying to read between the lines to see if there's an across the

board cut, and according to my sources, that just hasn't materialized yet.


GORANI: All right, John Defterios, we'll see. It certainly doesn't sound like anything imminent, and it's to be expected. There's talk going on on

how to address the price of oil. Thanks very much, John Defterios is in Abu Dhabi.

This is the World Right Now. While Canada is not at the center of Europe's refugee crisis, it is taking in thousands of Syrians fleeing the war.


GORANI: We'll show you one city's welcome. Stay with us.



GORANI: Well NATO is offering up a strategy that has raised some eyebrows. It is deploying ships into the Aegean Sea to counter human trafficking in

order to deal with the migrant crisis.


GORANI: This is the main route that smugglers use to bring migrants from Turkey into Greece sometimes in tiny unsafe boats. The International

Organization for Migration says more than 70,000 people have crossed so far this year.

Turkey, Germany and Greece requested this deployment and an official announced that the ships will be mobilized without delay. The IOM says at

least 319 people have died making the journey so far this year.


GORANI: It's a long way from the civil war in Syria to the Canadian west but thousands of Syrian refugees are making that journey hoping that Canada

can offer them a brighter future. CNN's Drew Griffin looks at how the city of Calgary is coping with the influx.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's quiet (inaudible), can barely contain the joy inside. This is Calgary's Margaret Chism

Resettlement House and it's dinner time.

Huge families, huge smiles, cries, laughter and everywhere children. They are all Syrians, refugees plucked from uncertain futures in Jordan, and

Lebanon, selected under the resettlement program to be accepted as newly landed immigrants. Anoush Newman helps run this center. In three years she

says everyone you see will be able to become a Canadian.

They really have nowhere else to go.

ANOUSH NEWMAN, CALGARY CATHOLIC IMMIGRATION SOCIETY: No. They can't. Because the surrounding country such as you know where they were, they

don't give them citizenship so they'll remain as refugees for the rest of their lives.

GRIFFIN: (Zyad Handoui) arrived just ten days ago, he and his wife and four children fled Aleppo, Syria.


NEWMAN: They left because there was a constant bombardment and they were worried, many times they came very close to death so that's when they

decided that let's leave before it gets worse and the -- he took his family and went to Lebanon live and settle there as a refugee.

GRIFFIN: Do you miss Syria? [ speaking foreign language ]

NEWMAN: Of course, of course, from my heart. We're very, very happy and very, very relaxed.

GRIFFIN: For the first time in years he feels his family is safe. But there's a long way to go. They speak almost no English. They are new to

just about every Canadian custom and shake hands with man and boys but not with the women.

Fairborz Birjandian the director here says that too will change and soon.

FAIRBORZ BIRJANDIAN, CALGARY CATHOLIC IMMIGRANT SOCIETY: In three months if you talk to these children that they just arrived and you won't even

recognize them as a refugee. Ten days ago they didn't even know they were coming to Canada, now they're here, so we realize that they have a lot of

fears and a lot of hopes.

GRIFFIN: Most arrive in families. There are only a few single Syrian men. And just as in the U.S., the program has raised concerns about safety and


I got to ask you they don't look dangerous to me.

BIRJANDIAN: No. They are fantastic people. They have gone through hell.

GRIFFIN: While in the United States there's still deliberation over just how many are even if Syrian refugees should be brought into the country by

the end of February, Canada will have reached its goal of bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees on to its soil. Confident that its screening process can

tell the bad guys from the good.

IAN HOLLOWAY, DEAN UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY LAW SCHOOL: Most Canadians are not that worried about the security issue for the people we've selected.

GRIFFIN: Ian Holloway, the Dean of the University of Calgary Law School also works with the Canadian government reviewing its security intelligence

operations. He says the refugees Canada brings in are screened and quite frankly he sees them as no threat at all.

HOLLOWAY: We feel that we have been able to take reasonable measures to -- not guarantee, you can never guarantee these things but to do everything we

can to satisfy ourselves that the people we have taken in are not likely to be bad guys.

GRIFFIN: To make sure Canada follows the progress of its newly arrived immigrants for two years, all the children will go to school. Families will

be helped to find work, housing and their ultimate goal, a permanent home in their new country. Canada.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Calgary.


GORANI: Coming up.


GORANI: After 72 years apart and thousands of miles away a couple meets again. We'll have the valentine's story of the year just ahead.



GORANI: Now, a lot changes in 72 years. But could it be possible that true love actually lasts forever? The Second World War tore these two apart but

they've now been reunited.

Ivan Watson has their heart-warming story.


NORWOOD THOMAS, I'm going to give her a squeeze.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Norwood Thomas never stopped thinking about Joyce Morris. The pair first met in 1944. She a 17-year-old

British girl living in London, he a 21-year-old paratrooper for the U.S. Forces, young love blossomed.

JOYCE MORRIS: We snogged as you call it, you know when it was dark, nobody could see us.

WATSON: But their brief romance was interrupted when Thomas was deployed to Normandy to fight in World War II. After the war he returned to the U.S.

and invited Morris to join him. But she misunderstood his letter and thought he was already married. So she refused his invitation and they went

their separate ways.


WATSON: They married other people. Thomas eventually became a widower, Morris got divorced. Last year one of her son's found Thomas online and

they reconnected on Skype after more than 70 years.

MORRIS: And I say good morning to you every morning.

THOMAS: Yes, and I will say good morning --

MORRIS: (inaudible)

THOMAS: And I will say good morning back to you. You broke my heart.

MORRIS: I don't believe that for a moment.

THOMAS: What would you do if I could give you a squeeze?

MORRIS: Oh, it would be lovely. [ laughter ]

WATSON: A crowd funding campaign raised enough money to make that actually happen. This week Thomas made the journey from Virginia to Adelaide.

MORRIS: Well you're still vertical. Hello.

THOMAS: Let me give you a squeeze.

WATSON: A couple that first met just before D-day reuniting seven decades later just in time for v or Valentine's day.

THOMAS: That's the most wonderful thing that could have happened to me.

MORRIS: Yes, good.

WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN.


GORANI: Ooh, I wonder if there was still a spark after all that time. That's adorable. And don't forget you can get all the latest news,

interviews and analysis on our Facebook page. We'll post a clip of some of our most interesting content this evening, so

check it out.

All right, this has been "The World Right Now," I'm Hala Gorani, thanks for watching and being with us this hour. Quest Means Business with Max

Foster, right here in London is coming up next.