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Leaders Agree to Push for Pause in Hostilities in Syria; Pope Meets Head of Russian Orthodox Church in Cuba; Republicans Fight for Support in South Carolina; Some Syrians Expressing Doubt in Wake of New Truce Deal; Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Speaking About Possible Expanded Military Role; Inside Look at E.U. Naval Operation Against People Smugglers. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 12, 2016 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: deal on the table to pause the fighting in Syria.


GORANI (voice-over): Except this is still happening. All the key players plan to continue bombing what they call terrorists. I ask the U.S. State

Department what will really change?

Then an event a millennium in the making. The pope and the patriarch are meeting for the first time in history.

And later: the political head-to-head, who came out on top of the Sanders- Clinton showdown.

Plus: rocking out in anti-gravity. The secrets behind OK Go's mind boggling music video. I'll have that for you as well. A well-rounded

program this evening.

Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at CNN London and this is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.


GORANI: We begin tonight with what may become the first step toward a cease-fire in Syria. Operative word is "may" in that sentence. World

powers have agreed to push for a, quote, "cessation of hostilities," which they hope will begin in a week.

But in a country ripped apart by violence, death and destruction, it is unclear what effect this will have on the ground. CNN is the first

international channel to make it to areas taken back by Assad loyalists. Our Fred Pleitgen gained exclusive access to the town of Nubl, north of

Aleppo. Here's his report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "God, Syria, Bashar and nothing else," these villagers chant in the pro-

regime village of Nubl.

The mostly Shia town was under rebel siege for more than three years. Fourteen-year-old Zalticar Ali Jaweeh (ph) lived through it and recalls the


"It was very tough," he says. "Many people got sick and the kids were very scared. But, after a while, we became numb to the fear."

The siege was broken by the recent government offensive north of Aleppo. Now there is food in the local markets and clearly a lot of support for the

main backers of the Assad regime, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia.

PLEITGEN: The people here in Nubl are keen to show their affection for Hezbollah, for Iran and for Russia. They believe that, throughout the

years of siege, it's these groups who stood by them and ensured this town's survival.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The U.N. has strongly criticized the denial of aid to besieged areas in Syria, accusing government forces, some rebel groups

and ISIS of using food and medicine as weapons.

The new agreement reached by world powers hopes to put an end to these tactics.

Aleppo's countryside is now one of the main battlegrounds in this brutal five- year civil war; as pro-government forces press an offensive backed by

Russian airpower, tens of thousands have fled towards the Turkish border.

On our trip we saw scores of deserted villages, some clearly scarred by fierce fighting.

Government soldiers issued a strong warning to opposition fighters.

"Their families should encourage them to look for reconciliation," he says, "otherwise they will be killed. They have no other options."

But the opposition believe reconciliation is not on the government's mind. They say they are simply being slaughtered as the Syrian military continues

to push to try and retake the area north of Aleppo in what many feel could be a crushing blow to anti-Assad forces.


GORANI: Things are changing on the ground and we are there to report on them for you, as we have been doing from the outset of this conflict. CNN

is around the world, covering all the angles. You saw Fred Pleitgen in that report. He's now back in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Nic Robertson is in Munich, where those talks have been taking place.

And Matthew Chance joins me now from Moscow as well.

First of all, I want to go to Nic Robertson in Munich. The big question today has been, how can this deal stick? It seems as though all

participants are still finding ways to justify continuing bombing campaigns.

How can this be called a truce?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think the idea is that it's supposed to build trust through the sides. The first -- the

first move is the humanitarian move. The U.N. is already with its humanitarian task force, already had a meeting today. They have been given

the task of getting these --


ROBERTSON: -- humanitarian aid out to seven different areas. The important thing about that is that these are both government areas that are

besieged and opposition areas that are besieged. And that's supposed to build trust and goodwill.

The U.N. has already requested the belligerents in those areas to give passage for that aid. Then you get to this idea of a cessation in

hostilities in a week's time. But the notion of getting the aid and getting more of it out across the country, that's supposed to build and

promote some trust that gets you to that cessation of hostilities.

There's that question, of course, what happens before you get to that agreed cessation in a week's time, the bombing of Aleppo, the government

offensive there.

Well, I spoke to the opposition here; they said we're going to judge this on whether or not we get back into political talks. They said they like

the agreement but we're going to judge its success based on what happens on the ground.

And one of those key things is do the Russians stop bombing the moderate opposition?

One of the mitigating things that may curtail that is a much more clearly defined line of who is the terrorist in all this.

GORANI: Right. And I want to get to Fred Pleitgen in Damascus as well.

We have heard from Bashar al-Assad today. He said quite clearly, you know, I'm going to continue striking terrorists, quote-unquote, "terrorists,"

what they've called from the beginning regime opponents, all of them. And I'm going to take back the whole country.

So what's been the reaction to this possible deal here?

PLEITGEN: Well, one of the other things, Hala, that Bashar al-Assad also said in that interview is the he said, and of course, he would give

diplomacy a chance as well.

But at the same time he also said that his goal was still to take back the entire country. And certainly from having been there in the north of

Syria, in that area north of Aleppo, you do feel the momentum that the government forces there currently have.

And when you speak to the soldiers there on the ground, they told us they think that it's a very real possibility that they would be able to take

back the entire terrain from the rebel-held outskirts of the city of Aleppo all the way to the Turkish border. So let's listen in to what Bashar al-

Assad had to say in that interview.


BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): We have fully believed in negotiations and in political action since the beginning of the


However, if we negotiate, it does not mean we stop fighting terrorism. The two tracks are inevitable in Syria: first, through negotiations and,

second, through fighting terrorism. And the two tracks are separate from each other.


PLEITGEN: And to get back to that offensive in the north of Aleppo, Hala, I can tell you from having been there on the government front line in that

area, there were times when we were so close to the Turkish border already that we were actually in the range of Turkish cell phone networks.

That just to give you an idea how close the Assad forces already are in some places to achieving what they think would be a key goal to cutting off

rebel supply lines to Turkey.

GORANI: And Matthew Chance in Moscow, what will Russia do as part of its commitment to the cessation of hostilities deal?

Will it stop bombing targets of rebel moderate targets, anti-Assad forces?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's made it pretty clear that it won't stop bombing those kinds of targets. An senior

official from the Federation council, which is the upper house of the Russian parliament, was speaking to the state media today, saying that, as

far as he understood, this agreement did not apply to Russia's air campaign in Syria.

It only applied to what it called "the warring factions on the ground" at the various rebel groups that are fighting each other and are fighting the

Syrian government.

He also said that Russia would be free to strike at the groups that they deem to be terrorist groups. And so there'll be no end to the bombardment

around Aleppo, where Fred Pleitgen's just come back from.

There'll be no end to the bombardment of other rebel groups as well. And so from a Russian perspective, this cessation of hostilities does not look

like it's going to have much of an impact at all in terms of the ferocious bombardment that they have unleashed on that country since September and

have been stepping up in the past couple weeks.

GORANI: And, Fred, I want to ask you a question about another component of the deal, which is to get more aid and food to besieged areas of Syria.

This is in just two sides. There are multiple groups in charge.

Is that even feasible?

What's the likelihood that it will succeed?

PLEITGEN: Well, you know what I think, Hala, it's feasible in some areas, it certainly doesn't seem really feasible in other areas because there's

two main hurdles to getting people aid in certain places.

In some places it's logistical hurdles and in other place is, if you will, political hurdles. If you look for instance at one of the largest places

that is under siege, the town of Deir ez-Zor in the east of Syria, which is under siege from ISIS, they're not party to any of these negotiations that

have been taking place. The Russians --


PLEITGEN: -- have been trying to airdrop some supplies into Deir ez-Zor; the Syrian military has actually as well. But it's impossible to even

contemplate that ISIS would lift that siege there.

There's other places where, if the parties that are involved want to allow aid in, it's actually not that difficult. You take, for instance, the town

of Madaya, where people have been horribly suffering, where people have been starving. It would be fairly easy to get aid convoys into that place

if government forces allowed that aid to pass. They have on occasion in the past.

And of course, we know the situation there is still quite difficult. The same goes also for some regime areas that are under siege by rebel groups.

So there are certain areas where it really depends on whether or not the conflict parties wants to do this. There's others where it's going to be

very difficult and it will take a large logistical effort to get aid, for instance, to the town of Deir ez-Zor.

GORANI: Certainly a lot of political and diplomatic will.

Fred Pleitgen is in Damascus, Matthew Chance in Moscow, Nic Robertson in Munich, thanks to all three of you.

Well, the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, says the progress at Munich, if fully implemented, has the potential to change the lives of Syrian

people. Earlier I spoke to Mark Toner, a spokesperson from the U.S. State Department. I began by asking him how the cessation of hostilities will

even work in these conditions.


MARK TONER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: So the ideas here is that, coming out of yesterday's meeting, there's a task force being formed today that's

going to work on how to implement this cessation of hostilities.

And that's going to require -- just to finish here -- that's going to require all of the members of the ISSG, this International Syria Support

Group, to exert influence both on the opposition, on those groups who are funding for the opposition, as well as on the regime to stop the fighting.

GORANI: You're saying it's a cessation of hostilities and not a cease- fire. It still means stopping hostilities, regardless of whether or not --

TONER: Absolutely.

GORANI: -- it's temporary.

However, this excludes the fight against ISIS. So the coalition air campaign doesn't stop. The fight against Nusra as well. Russia says other

terrorist groups it can still target. The Syrian president just said he, too, will keep striking, quote, "terrorists," which has long been what he's

called any opposition force.

What will change?

TONER: Well, you're absolutely right in the first point. Daish or ISIL and Al-Nusra are identified by all members of the ISSG, this International

Syria Support Group, as those parties cannot be part of any kind of cessation of hostilities or cease-fire.

I agree with you that there are still fighting going on, both by the Russians, airstrikes, but also by the regime itself. I've seen President

Assad's comments; they're not helpful, they're not constructive. For them to believe that there can be any kind of military solution to the conflict

in Syria is, frankly, misguided.

But look, the secretary of state, John Kerry was clear about this. It was an important agreement yesterday. It was the end of a lot of long hours of

discussion and debate that reached the cessation of hostilities agreement. But the proof is in the pudding. We need to see if they can enact this on

the ground.


GORANI: Mark Toner, I'm sorry; I've got to jump in.

What will change?

I'm still unclear about what will change if all participants, all of those who are carrying out bombing campaigns right now, will continue to do so

because they're all saying they're targeting terrorists and that the fight or the battle against terrorists is excluded from this agreement?

TONER: So part of this is Russia has agreed to implement a cessation of hostilities. There is a task force beginning today, that is looking at how

to apply this on this ground.

Those forces who continue to fight on the ground, whether they be opposition or regime forces, are obviously excluded from any kind of waiver

or any kind of protection that such a cessation of hostilities would provide.

So in some ways, this is going to be self-policing. But you're right. They're looking at all these modalities on the ground and how to implement

them. Russia needs to live up to the obligations that it made when it signed onto the U.N. Security Council resolution 2254. We have been clear

about this.

The agreement yesterday is important but what matters now is actions on the ground. I agree with you 100 percent.

GORANI: Right.

But is the United States essentially, by signing onto an agreement that excludes targeting groups that Russia describes as terrorists, is the

United States OK with Russia continuing a bombing campaign during this so- called cessation of hostilities?

TONER: Not at all. We want to see -- a cessation of hostilities means exactly that. We want to see the bombing, the indiscriminant bombing, to

be frank, by Russia end. We want to see its support for the Assad regime, which is basically trying to go on a land grab, if you will, trying to --

carrying out horrific attacks on the citizens of Aleppo. We need to see that end as well. That's the task in front of us now.


GORANI: But they're announcing -- but they're announcing, Mark Toner, that they don't intend on doing this. So before the ink is even dry on this

Munich agreement, it seems like it's as if it's failed already.


GORANI: They're already pre-announcing that they're not going to abide by any rules that lead to a cessation of hostilities. Assad has just said so.

TONER: Well, Assad, you know, says a lot of things, as we know, over the years. It's up to the Russians. It's up to others, who have influence on

him, to convince him, to convince his regime there is no military solution to what's happening now, to the conflict in Syria.


GORANI: Mark Toner, the State Department spokesperson, speaking to me just about an hour ago, with more on these -- on this cessation of hostilities


Still to come tonight, a historic meeting in Cuba. Why the heads of two churches believe they can save Christian lives by banding together.




GORANI: Pope Francis has made history today.


GORANI (voice-over): This is him, last hour, as he met with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church in Havana, Cuba. Now journalists are

sometimes accused of overusing the term "historic." In this case, it is historic. It is the first time the heads of the Russian Orthodox and Roman

Catholic Church have met since their two branches of Christianity split nearly 1,000 years ago.

So something that happens every 1,000 years I think we can be forgiven for calling it historic. The two religious leaders are expected to sign a

joint declaration after their, quote, "personal conversation." We'll have live coverage of that.

Our Patrick Oppmann joins me now from Havana with more on this big event -- Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Hala, you're absolutely right.

How often do we get to report on something that is absolutely unprecedented?

But 1054, that's when these two different versions of Christianity, there was a split, the historic schism, and so this is a meeting really, it's

been in the hundreds of years in the making and, over the years, Pope John Paul II, other popes, other patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, have

wanted this meeting to take place.

But there's been just so much bad blood over the years that it wasn't able to take place until now in Cuba, of all places. It seems a little ironic

that a country that until recently was officially atheist is the host today for this historic meeting. But that's how it worked out.

And we didn't know about this at all until last week, when the surprise announcement came that Pope Francis, on his way to Mexico for a visit

there, would have this quick stop-over in Cuba and meet with Patriarch Kirill and talk about how, working together, they can save the lives of

Christians around the world.

GORANI: All right. You mentioned the next stop in Mexico.

What should we expect there?

OPPMANN: Well, you know, in about an hour's time, we'll have these -- the pope and Patriarch Kirill come out and issue this declaration, saying that

they want to work together to save Christians, who they say are being persecuted in places like Syria --


OPPMANN: -- by groups like ISIS. And then, of course, the pope will head on to Mexico. We saw him wearing a sombrero today, getting in the mood

apparently. But overall it'll like fair (ph) the pope is going to get into an equally sortie (ph) debate. He will be heading to this border town of

Juarez, a town that has become notorious over the years for the violent drug trade and illegal immigration to the United States.

They're facing, I'd says, he will, we believe, say a prayer for immigrants and show himself to have once again be firmly on the side of immigrants,

whether the immigrants fleeing Syria to Europe or immigrant from Mexico to the United States.

This is a pope who is on the side of immigrants, not always pleasing some politicians in the United States.

GORANI: Thanks very much, Patrick Oppmann in Havana. And that historic declaration signing should take place in just about an hour. CNN will

cover it live from the Cuban capital around -- we expect at around 9:15 pm London time, 10:15 pm Central European time. So do stay tuned for that.

It hasn't happened in 1,000 years. You want to tune in.

The U.S. is getting closer to restoring commercial flights to Cuba. Next Tuesday American carriers will start bidding for routes in airport slots.

U.S. officials will head to Cuba to sign an official agreement to resume flights between those two countries in the coming days.

The deal means there could potentially be 20 flights to Havana every single day and a lot of money could be made.

Coming up, angry U.S. voters appear to be fueling two remarkable political campaigns. We talk to CNN host and political heavyweight Michael

Smerconish about the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.




GORANI: Now to the race for the White House.


GORANI (voice-over): We're bringing you these live pictures as Hillary Clinton kicks off her rally in Denmark, South Carolina. Last night she

dueled one-on-one with Bernie Sanders. It was the sixth Democratic debate and made this attack against his allegiance to President Barack Obama.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Calling the president weak, calling him a disappointment, calling several

times that he should have a primary opponent when he ran for reelection in 2012, you know, I think that goes further than saying we have our



GORANI: Sanders then responded, "Well, only one of us here actually ran against President Barack Obama."

Sanders said Americans are angry with politicians, much like the message of another surprising front-runner, Donald Trump. Here's what Sanders had to

say on revolution and the Republican contender.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people are tired of establishment politics, tired of establishment economics.

They want a political revolution, in which millions of Americans stand up, come together, not let the Trumps of the world divide us and say, you know

what, in this great country, we need a government that represents all of us.


GORANI: That has been his message from the beginning. "We need more equality."

Here's Donald Trump, by the way, also campaigning on the Republican side. He's gearing up for the next primary in South Carolina.

Will a fresh wave of quote-unquote "angry voters" help keep his momentum going?

Let's get the latest on the presidential contenders. We're joined by CNN host and political commentator Michael Smerconish. He is in New York.

Michael, I want to ask you first about the Democratic debate.

Who do you think came out on top?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Hala, I don't think there was any blood drawn by either of them. I think that if you went in predisposed to be

supportive of Senator Sanders, that's how you left the debate and likewise for Secretary Clinton.


SMERCONISH: That's not to say there weren't interesting exchanges along the way. And you just played one of them. I would just expand that and

say interesting to me that, up until now, we have had one caucus and one primary. She's both wanted to be supportive of President Obama but not get

too close because that's not a place where you want to be, come a general election.

But last night was different. Last night, as we now go to South Carolina, which has a very diverse populace, much different than Iowa, much different

than New Hampshire, she wants African Americans to know that she is tethered to this president. And so that explains the sound bite that you

played a moment ago.

GORANI: And Michael, the reason why is because of statistics like the ones I'm going to read out now.

African Americans in South Carolina, 92 percent approval rating of Barack Obama.

So I mean, Hillary Clinton, she wants a piece of that sort of political love there, obviously.

SMERCONISH: She does. And my point is that, in the long term, if she's successful in becoming the Democratic nominee, I would suggest to you

you'll hear a different approach come the fall, where she'll want to maintain some distance.

But this, of course, is primary season. This is the season when you're trying to win the nomination of your own party. The parties are comprised

of primarily people who are drawn by ideological purposes.

So liberals dominate in the Democratic situation and conservatives on the Republican side of the aisle. You want to placate them or you don't win

the nomination.

GORANI: And Michael, I want to get your thoughts on a wider issue. And this one, of course, is an issue that is present both in the Republican and

the Democratic race, which is the anti-establishment candidates, on the one hand, Bernie Sanders and for the Republicans, Donald Trump, are getting

these disgruntled voters, voters who say they're angry, that they're sick and tired of the way things are done in Washington.

Bernie Sanders was asked on the Colbert show to address this question on angry voters. This is how he answered.


SANDERS: I think a lot of Donald Trump's supporters are angry. They are, in many cases, people who are working longer hours for low wages. They're

people who are really worried about what's going to happen to their kids.

People have a right to be angry but what we need to be is rational in figuring out how we address the problems and not simply scapegoating



GORANI: This is "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert.

So this is really changing the game isn't it, this crop of voters supporting these anti-establishment maverick candidates?

SMERCONISH: I've been paying close attention for the last three decades. I've never seen anything like the sentiments that are being expressed. And

opposite ends of the political spectrum because you're right, Bernie Sanders is tapping into anger on the Left. Donald Trump, anger on the

Right. I don't think there's cross-over of those individuals. I don't think that you leave Sanders one day and go to Trump the next.

I mean, Bernie Sanders is a self-described Democratic socialist, which, to your European audience, is no big deal.

Here in the United States --


GORANI: That's middle of the road here.


SMERCONISH: We have not had somebody in the States go this far and be so successful as a self-described socialist. And his message is largely about

income inequality. Now you go to the Republican Party and you have got a billionaire, who has never run for office, who is atop the polls and

looking good in the next one, which is South Carolina, the next state that will vote.

GORANI: All right. Michael Smerconish, thanks very much. Fascinating times for you and really for everyone watching around the world, I have to

say. So many of our international viewers are interested. Have a great weekend and thanks.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, bombs continue to fall on Southern Damascus as world powers agree to pause in hostilities.

I'll speak to a Red Cross official in Syria about the vast humanitarian need there and whether or not an agreement to allow more aid to be

delivered will help Syrians who need it most. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Welcome back. A look at our top stories. World powers have agreed to push for a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria which they hope will

begin in a week.


GORANI: It is hoped to be a first step toward a formal cease-fire along with immediate humanitarian relief for key areas. The U.N. Special Envoy

for Syria says aid should begin reaching civilians in the coming days. At least that is the plan.


GORANI: A historic meeting in Cuba may help bridge religious differences.


GORANI: Pope Francis is meeting with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is happening in Havana. It is the first time the heads

of the two churches have ever met since their two religions split in the great schism of 1054. Pope Francis heads to Mexico later tonight.


GORANI: Protesters have gathered outside parliament in Athens after clashing with riot police.


GORANI: Earlier in the day farmers threw stones outside the agriculture ministry to protest pension reforms. Those reforms are a condition for

Greece's bailout.

Another volatile day for oil prices they have spiked this time, more than 12% to record their biggest one day jump since 2009. Here's a look at how

crude oil was looking a few months ago. Let's bring up the graphic for you. There it is. Up 11.3% in fact that's much closer to $30 a barrel. And the

Dow is up almost 300 points.


GORANI: Let's turn our attention back to Syria now. Some Syrians are expressing serious doubts that the bombs will stop falling despite a new

truce deal hammered out in Munich.


GORANI: But Diplomats say the pause in hostilities will allow critical aid to get to besieged areas. The truth - the truth is not expected to go into

effect for another week and the need is particularly great in Aleppo. The Russian bombardment has driven as many as 40,000 to the Turkish border to

seek shelter.


Arwa Damon joins me now live from Gaziantep, Turkey, not far from the border with Syria with more.

Has Turkey allowed more of these Syrians in, Arwa, in recent days?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. They're not Hala. They are letting emergency cases come through but so far those 40,000 or so

that have reached Turkey's borders are being housed in camps set up by Turkey, yes, but on the Syrian side.


DAMON: Turkey's justification for that is that it is already at maximum capacity with well over 2.6 million within its borders already. And it is

saying that it is providing shelter, food, water, medical assistance to them, basically creating the same conditions that would be created at a

refugee camp inside Turkey but it's doing this inside Syria.

Problem is Hala, Turkey cannot provide the one thing these people so desperately crave and that is a sense of security. As long as they are

still in Syria they feel vulnerable and that sense of vulnerability is being compounded by the reality that these Russian air strikes are closer

and closer to villages and towns, closer to the Syrian border which lends itself to fear that is the regime will come through and when that happens,

who is going to protect these refugees and will Turkey in that case open its borders? Turkey does say that it will not allow anyone who they believe

to be in harm's danger to remain in Syria but as of now, the border does remain closed, Hala.

GORANI: And what do they want in order - I mean what could change the situation? What would prompt them to open up the border at this stage?


DAMON: Well, probably the worst case scenario that would see even larger numbers beginning to flee, even more people begging the Turkish authorities

to have mercy even though Turkey does continue to maintain that it has an open door policy. Or what is the most terrifying thing for those that are

stuck on the other side, that is some sort of assault on the camps themselves whether it's an air strike, whether it's the regime troops

advancing on them or whether it's some sort of stray artillery or mortar round when the clashes do invariably get closer.

And then of course there's the situation of those that are still stuck in Aleppo since the regime due to these Russian air strikes has managed to cut

off one of the most vital humanitarian supply line from this part of Turkey into Aleppo forcing aid to have to take a much longer and much more

dangerous route. And aid organizations themselves Hala, are preparing themselves for what many consider to be the inevitable siege of Aleppo.

Trying to send in as much -- as many supplies as they can to last people for about three months. Because they do think that there will come a day

they won't be able to reach Syria's largest city.


GORANI: OK, Arwa Damon, in Gaziantep, thanks very much.

Well Arwa mentioned aid organizations and how concerned they are; let's get more details about the humanitarian situation particularly in Aleppo. I'm

joined on the phone by Marianne Gasser, she's The Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation in Syria.

Marianne, thanks for being with us. First of all, were you able to hear some of the details of this deal in Munich. Are you a little bit more

hopeful that you'll be able to get to people in need in Syria as a result?


MARIANNE GASSER, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF RED CROSS DELEGATION: Yes. Thank you very much. We really welcome the announcement or the

statement of yesterday evening and we really hope it will translate into concrete action on the ground. And to give us (inaudible) and regular

access to all area where really millions of people, of civilians, of women and children are in dire need of help. However, as we speak now, and we

hope for the cease-fire, fighting is still ongoing in Aleppo (inaudible) including in Aleppo city and in many other areas that (inaudible).

GORANI: Are you worried - Sorry I was going to ask you are you worried specifically about this possibility the regime forces will encircle rebel

held areas of Aleppo leading to a siege situation? Is that a concern for you, that you won't be able to access the people in need there?

GASSER: Well, it is a concern for us in Aleppo. Because Aleppo was already -- the civilian population was since over three years really in desperate

need. If I take even Aleppo city, let's say the government side, there is not even electricity in all Aleppo City in all of Aleppo government today.

(inaudible) equipped to pick up and a lot of water (inaudible) also. Because a lot of water treatment plants have been damaged.

So Aleppo is and many other parts of Syria are a big concern for us. We have a permanent presence in Aleppo. Myself I joined the (inaudible) since

Sunday. We could respond to some of the humanitarian needs of the civilian population. But this is far - not - far from not enough because we have to

bring much more humanitarian assistance like -- such as food, long food items and medical items in particular.

GORANI: Can I ask you, are you in touch with any of the participants here, I mean the government? How do you communicate to the warring parties where

you want to deliver aid? Are you able to get any kind of assurance that you can - you can get to some of the places you need to get to?

GASSER: Well, we could deliver aid to some northern parts of - some parts of the northern Aleppo through the Syrian (inaudible), and to send some

trucks with humanitarian assistance. Definitely we are in contact with Syrian government at a central level, at local level and also we've

(inaudible) opposition groups. And we are worried in particular nowadays about the situation and the humanitarian needs in northern Aleppo. But

again I would like to underline it's in all Aleppo (inaudible). The situation is very difficult.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much for joining us and good luck to you and your teams and good luck to the Syrian Red Cross as well and all the work

they do. Marianne Gasser of the ICRC joining us from Aleppo.



GORANI: Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister is speaking about a possible expanded military role from his country in Syria. He spoke to

Christiane Amanpour.


ADEL AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: If the international coalition against Daesh which we are a part of and have been since the very

beginning, decides that it will introduce ground troops to Syria in addition to the current air campaign, we have said that the kingdom of

Saudi is prepared to contribute special forces to this effort.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: But that's conditional so - is it -- you want the United States to be involved on the ground? Are you looking for

U.S. led coalition on the ground?

AL-JUBEIR: Absolutely, yes. We are saying we will participate within the U.S. led coalition should this coalition decide to send ground troops into

Syria that we are prepared to send special forces with those troops.

AMANPOUR: Do you think that's at all likely in all the conversations you've had, there have been long conversations overnight, you've been speaking to

this Russian foreign minister. Do you think it's like that that's going to happen?

AL-JUBEIR: I can't tell you what will happen and what will not happen. I can tell you that there's some serious discussion going on with regards to

looking at a ground component in Syria because there has to be a possibility of taking and holding ground that one cannot do from the air.


GORANI: That was the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir. And don't forget you can get all the latest news or analysis on my Facebook page, Check us out online and comment if you like.

This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, coming up -


GORANI: Traffickers from Libya have been helping migrants pour into Europe. Next we'll take you along with (inaudible) with stopping the smugglers.

And later, we'll tell you why one of Britain's most popular newspapers, The Independent is making some huge changes after 29 years of service.



GORANI: All right. We have been following now for months the refugee crisis in Europe. George Clooney in fact brought a bit of star power to a meeting

with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today to talk about the refugee crisis on the continent, an estimated 83,000 refugees have landed in Europe so far

this year.


GORANI: There he is with his wife. The E.U's military force is trying to curb the flow of migrants making the dangerous journey by sea to Europe by

targeting human traffickers.


GORANI: Phil Black has been on a war ship off the Libyan coast to find out more about that mission.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've have been at sea in the Mediterranean with Italian and Spanish naval forces for about five, six

days now. This is part of the E.U. naval operation against people smugglers operating out of Libya.


BLACK: We started when we first were transferred to the Italian aircraft carrier, (inaudible). It is the command ship for this entire operation. It

is big, it's pretty new and it's really very impressive.

From there we came here to the (inaudible) a Spanish brigade. And in pretty big seas we've been carving through the south of the Med. These conditions

have been too too big. The swell too rough, the winds too strong, for people smuggling boats to put to sea. So in the meantime the crew of these

vessels they need to train. So we witnessed the marines aboard the (inaudible) conduct a boarding exercise.

The marines are the ones responsible for approaching -- making the initial approach to the migrant vessels. Giving a security assessment, making sure

there's no threat.

During our time at sea we spent a lot of time clambering in and out of helicopters. Aboard the helicopter here on the (inaudible) we were able to

get very, very close to the Libyan border.

Through the haze you can see the Libyan coastline in the distance. We're 12 nautical miles away, at the very edge of Libyan territorial waters. This is

as close as these forces can get to where the people smuggling operations (inaudible).

Living aboard a friggitt (ph) built in the 1980s - the late 1980s it takes some getting used to but it's also really good fun. At least for a few days

in the way that we're doing it. But you get a real sense of what a challenging environment this would be to live in in the long-term.

So it is of course incredibly narrow. The confined space, we got lost a few times. Actually now we're on the wrong deck. The hallways narrow passing

people all the time. We were warned that the single most dangerous thing aboard the ship are these narrow steep ladders and stairs that separate the

decks. And this is where they control the ship and it's a pretty extraordinary view. It gives you a sense of where this ship has been

operating, where we are and what we're waiting for.

This is a map of the southern area of the Mediterranean, I'm not allowed to show you the area that shows the coast of Libya. But the people who run

this operation, they talk about the lampedusa triangle. So if you imagine the coast of Libya down here, there is Tripoli to the eastern side of the

map to the left heading towards the border with Tunisia. It is from here they say this stretch of coast that boats leave and head out north, that's

the triangular shape heading towards the Italian island of Lampedusa, more towards the center of the map.

So today as this ship has been plowing through seas much bigger than what you see here now. This is pretty flat, the winds are pretty gentle by

comparison. They have come down a long way. Although this the crew believes makes it more likely that you're going to see some sort of migrant boat

movement. Where we have been positioned for a couple of days now has been holding a pattern to the northwest of Tripoli, probably just to the

northwestern side of the Libyan coast and international waters waiting here in a position the crew believes is beyond the detection of the people

smuggling crews and operators back on the Libyan coast itself.

This is one of the marines stationed aboard a 50 caliber weapon trained on the side. He is looking out and ready for the possibility of some sort of

attack from some smaller vessel. What the commanding officer describes as an asymmetrical terrorist attack.


GORANI: Phil Black reporting there just off the coast of Libya on the E.U's military mission to target human traffickers.

Coming up, something completely different; ready, set, OK, go.


GORANI: The alternative band known for some pretty creative videos has a new one out. We'll be right back.




GORANI: The group OK-Go is taking its music videos to new heights. It's latest video was filmed while band members floated around in zero gravity.

Who else but Jeanie Moos has this story.



Don't try this aboard your next commercial flight. The band known for its unique videos has come a long way from their treadmill days. Now they're

treading in zero gravity in a plane above Russia.

For three weeks they practiced and performed as the plane did parabolas climbing until it goes over the hump creating 27 seconds of weightlessness,

tied to open luggage and releases a billion balls. The flight attendants didn't yell. They were actually trained aerial acrobats. Lead singer,

Damian Kulash called the whole zero G experience exciting and terrifying.

DAMIAN KULASH: LEAD SINGER, OK GO: It's a very difficult physical sensation and it just causes a lot of sort of like fear and panic.

MOOS: Russia's F7 airline offered OK-Go the plane in exchange for using their results in a marketing campaign. The video upside down and inside out

is made up of eight periods of weightlessness with a time in between as the plane repositions edited out. The band members took anti-nausea drugs but

the production crew wanted to go natural.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had about 58 unscheduled regurgitations.

KULASH: 58 vomiting events.

MOOS: But what's a little nausea when (inaudible) balloons are spilling their guts.

Now Damian never actually threw up but he did pass out after being spun by the flight attendants.

KULASH: There's actually footage of me like you can just see my eyes kind of twirl up and I just go limp.

MOOS: Watch Damian start to lose it as his eyes flutter after five seconds or so he regained consciousness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want me to get you some water?

MOOS: No. I want you to get me some gravity.

Jeanie Moos, CNN. New York.


GORANI: I would not do that. All right. This newspaper, Britain's "The Independent" is to close its print edition and become digital only, a sign

of the times. Print copies of the paper have been declining for years, it only averaged 56,000 copies in December. For comparison tabloid newspaper

The Sun averaged, so remember, 56,000, The Sun with its page 3 girl, gossip, 1.8 million in the same period.

Our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joins me from New York.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You're not saying there's a connection between the two of those are you? You're not saying the page 3

girls might help.

GORANI: Absolutely not. No why would they, Brian? Absolutely not. But let's talk a little bit about how this may be the way -- a lot of newspapers are

going to go in the future, right? I mean you -- digital is where - is where it's all going to happen.

STELTER: Yes, you said a sign of the times and that's exactly what this is. We're seeing similar moves in the United States and other countries as


It's happening slowly but it is happening surely. Slowly but surely as we see print newspapers move towards the web and some of them going out of

print altogether.


STELTER: You know "The Independent" launched back in 1986 and at its peak it was printing almost half a million copies a day. It's Sunday paper as

well as its weekday edition. But, as you say now it's down to 1/10 of that size. And this is the same story we're seeing repeated over and over again.

In markets with many, many different print newspapers like the kind of market we have in Britain, we see some papers kind of giving up, stopping

printing while others are able to retain audience. In markets like many markets here in the U.S. where there's only one or two papers in a given

metropolitan area we're seeing cutbacks in the frequency.


STELTER: You know sometimes, they're going from seven to five days a week. Or we're seeing no more home delivery only news stand sales. So there's

lots of different ways we're seeing newspaper owners cut back. But they are all cutting back in different ways and they say they're moving toward the


GORANI: And you know what's really interesting is that the group that owns "The Independent" also owns the newspaper, people who have come to known,

they'll know what it's called, "The Evening Standard." It's free, it's distributed at tube stops everywhere. It's free but profitable.



GORANI: I mean so -- because the sheer volume of how many they distribute means they can get advertisers to pay for that space. So you have digital

on the one hand and then free publications on the other.

STELTER: Yes, there's two options if you're a publisher, class or mass. You can go for a mass audience, the way they're doing, try to reach as many

people as possible and sell it that to advertisers. Or you can go for more of a class strategy where you try to get a relatively small number to

subscribe either in print or online.

In the case you know we don't know how many jobs will be lost with "The Independent" going out of print, but they do say they're going to add 25

digital content jobs. And that is part of an epic reshaping in the media world. I think of it as sort of play dough or Jello.

What's happening is we are completely reshaping these sorts of jobs that are in what we used to think of as print newsrooms.


STELTER: More and more people are working on publishing to the web instead. The reality is that means fewer jobs overall but more and more people

trying to create content that's on the web either high quality or sometimes more low quality.

GORANI: And this is the big - it's going to be the big challenge for "The Independent" and others, it's how do you make money out of this. Because

"The Independent" is a quality newspaper, it's a broadsheet. It's not a tabloid.


GORANI: It's got sometimes great reporting. How does it make money? Out of this? Adding digital jobs? But you also need -- because part of the way

that now newspapers become successful online is that they have these viral posts, those viral posts are not necessarily very sort of, you know, well

researched investigated pieces for instance. So how do you - where do you strike that out?

STELTER: No. The Daily Mail is really the best example of this. The Daily Mail is a newspaper that's become much more of an online presence in the

U.S. and the U.K. and elsewhere by coming up with viral stories, some of which are not necessarily accurate, definitely not researched well ahead of



STELTER: For "The Independent" they say they do want to expand into the new markets including the U.S. and elsewhere. Maybe they're going to take a

page from The Daily Mail Playbook. But I think a lot of journalists will come away from this saying we've got to preserve quality at some of these

outlets as they make this transition from print to web.

It's the story of our time as you said in the journalism world. And what is remarkable I think for normal viewers at home is that print is still where

most of the money is made. It's a lot harder to make money off of a digital customer than a print customer.

So even though it's getting less - it makes less sense to be printing these papers for some publishers. Digital is still a whole lot more harder to

squeeze money out of, at least for now.

GORANI: All right, got it. Brian Stelter, thanks very much, have a great weekend.

STELTER: Thanks, you to.

GORANI: Thanks for coming on. This has been "The World Right Now," thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani "Quest Means Business" is next on CNN.