Return to Transcripts main page


Four Police Injured In Brussels Terror Raid Shootout; Russia Withdraws As Syria Marks Grim Anniversary; Anti-ISIS Coalition Continues Fight Against Terror Group; Polls Open In Five States On Third "Super Tuesday"; Aleppo Devastated By Years Of Civil War; Manhunt in Brussels for Potential Terror Suspects; Syria Peace Talks Update; Election Primaries Previewed. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 15, 2016 - 16:00:00   ET




[15:01:22]HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We're live from CNN London and this is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

We'll get to that in a moment as well as U.S. politics, but first, we begin with that violent standoff between police and armed terror suspects in

Brussels today. This is now over. It ended in the past two hours as police secured the apartment.

They planned the search in connection with the Paris terror attack of last November. Now, they thought it was empty. Instead, we understand, they

were met by heavy gunfire.

Authorities say four police officers were hurt and one terror suspect is dead, and at least one more is on the run. One witness says he heard 30

shots. I ended up in the middle of terror here in Brussels, he said.

Police have not disclosed who the suspects were inside the apartment. They would not speculate in fact on whether one of them might be the missing

Paris attacker, Sala Abdeslam.

Now "CTC Sentino" editor-in-chief, Paul Cruickshank is a CNN terrorism analyst. He is also the co-author of "Agent Storm, My Life Inside Al

Qaeda." He is very familiar with the Belgian situation. He joins me from New York.

So Paul, Sala Abdeslam, of course, is that one missing key suspect from the Paris terror attacks. Do we know for sure that he is not the one killed or

the one on the run?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: They don't think that he was in the apartment, Hala. In fact, they don't know who this dead gunman is at

this point. They have not been able to identify this individual yet.

I was just told they have no idea at all who they shot just a few hours ago during that Belgian police commando raid against at least one gunman,

perhaps more, who had Kalashnikovs inside that apartment.

It wasn't expected that they were going to be met with anybody at all when they went into that apartment. It was an address they believed was linked

in some ways to the Paris attacks, that's why they were going in earlier today.

But Sala Abdeslam, the trail for him ran cold months ago. He still appears to be at large. No indications at this point he was connected to this

address whatsoever -- Hala.

GORANI: OK, so they were -- why do they think the apartment was empty? How could they have known that? Why were they caught by surprise here?

CRUICKSHANK: Belgian police or investigators have been working around the clock since the Paris attacks to try to arrest the entire network behind

the Paris attacks. They believe it was planned, orchestrated, in Belgium.

That the attackers were all staying in safe houses in Belgium and then moved to Paris to launch the attacks. They've taken 11 people into custody

so far and that has garnered additional intelligence.

It appears that the raid today was linked to the wider circle of one of those 11 people. And that they were not expecting there to be anybody at

all inside the apartment, that the intelligence suggested that the apartment was empty. Well, it wasn't.

When they tried to get through the door, the gunman actually shot through the door itself, injuring some of the police officers. Fortunately, none

of them with injuries that are life threatening this evening -- Hala.

GORANI: So there's still one arm, it seems, potentially dangerous suspect on the run?

CRUICKSHANK: That is certainly the concern this evening. The Belgium prime minister is about to address the nation any minute. They're taking

this obviously very, very seriously indeed. Not clear how many are on the run. It's a very, very confused situation.

It would appear that perhaps one of the gunman was able to escape through the roof of the building and melt away, but because it was such a confused

situation, that they're not sure at this point how many have got away, if, in fact, any got away at all.

[15:05:10]I think we'll hear more from the Belgium prime minister any minute now -- Hala.

GORANI: Paul Cruickshank, thanks very much, live in New York.

We turn now to Syria mired in five years of crisis and civil war. Today is that grim anniversary of the protests that erupted in 2011 that led to the


This isn't five years ago this is today in rebel held Aleppo. Parts of the city marked the day with demonstrations. The war has claimed hundreds of

thousands of lives. It's uprooted half the Syrian population and created the most complex global conflict in recent memory.

Now the country stands at a new crossroads with Russia withdrawing its troops. Matthew Chance has our first report from Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With more than 9,000 soldiers behind them, the withdrawal of Russia's warplanes

from Syria is now under way. The Russian Defense Ministry releasing these images of aircraft being prepared for the long distance flight home.

The Russian president's unexpected order is being quickly implemented. It was at this late night meeting with his defense and foreign ministers that

Vladimir Putin announced his goals in Syria had been achieved declaring victory and pulling out.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I believed the goal set out to the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces has in large

part been fulfilled. That is why I ordered the minister of defense start to pull out of the main part of our military grouping from Syria.

CHANCE: From the air and the sea, Russia's bombardment of Syria has been a game changer. This kind of overwhelming firepower reversing the military

fortunes of kremlin's Arab ally Bashar al-Assad.

As Russia helped the Syrian leader regain key territory, it was criticism from human rights groups that Russian planes targeted civilians strongly

denied by Russia and that the bombing worsened the flow of refugees.

It also forced the warring parties, including President Assad, to negotiate. The kremlin now says a political solution to the Syrian war is

its main fake focus. What we don't know is whether Russia will resume strikes if peace talks falter.

The kremlin says its powerful air and naval bases in Syria will remain. This may not be the last Syrians ever seen of Russia's military resolve.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


GORANI: At this critical moment in Syria's evolution, we're joined by the spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition who's based in Baghdad. It's U.S.

Colonel Steve Warren. Thanks for joining us this evening.

Colonel Warren, first of all, when you heard Putin's announcement that Russia was withdrawing the bulk of its military forces from Syria, was this

something you had expected or you had heard would happen or were you taken by surprise?

COLONEL STEVE WARREN, ANTI-ISIS COALITION SPOKESMAN: This was not something that we'd heard was coming. This was an unexpected announcement

for us. But it's something that, as in any situation, warfare, you have to take what comes. So we took it on board.

We're observing now to see what the Russians are doing. Are they actually going to do what they said they would do? And we're continuing with our

operations to defeat this terrorist enemy.

GORANI: Well, their stated mission at the beginning of their bombing campaign a few months ago was that they would target ISIS and terrorist

groups. How much of Russia's military involvement do you think was geared at taking out ISIS?

WARREN: Really, only a small percentage of their efforts were against ISIS. Originally it was really around 5 percent to 10 percent. Over the

course of the last week or so since the cessation of hostilities, they were striking primarily ISIL targets, ISIS targets, but predominantly, vast

majority have been against the moderate Syrian oppositions. Their strikes we believe the intent was to prop up Bashar al-Assad.

GORANI: They're saying their mission is accomplished, essentially that what they set out to do has been achieved. But you're saying that really

their stated mission to target ISIS and terrorist groups was only up to 10 percent of the actual air campaign that unfolded over the last four months

or so?

WARREN: Our estimation is that only about 10 percent of their strikes were against ISIS targets. The remainder of their strikes were against the

opposition forces who are fighting Bashar al-Assad. So what they said was that they were there to fight ISIS. What they did was fight Assad's


GORANI: Now let's talk a little bit about the anti-ISIS coalition that you're the spokesperson for. Where are we on this? ISIL still controls

Mosul. They still control Raqqa. They still have large portions of territory in both Syria and Iraq. This is going to go on two years of a

bombing campaign led by the United States. Would you qualify this as a success?

[15:10:11]WARREN: Well, ISIS still does hold some territory, but let's not forget, they've lost almost 40 percent of the territory they once held here

in Iraq. That's more than 21,000 square kilometers. They've lost Sinjar. They've lost Ramadi. They've lost Baiji. They've lost Tikrit.

We believe that this enemy is now in what we refer to as a defensive crouch. They are back on their heels. The Iraqi army has come together.

They've figured out how to fight this enemy and they're beginning to eat up territory.

GORANI: Right, but there -- I mean, this is a terrorist group that didn't exist a few years ago. The United States is the most formidable military

on earth. Why is it taking so long, some people are asking?

WARREN: Sure. It's a fair question. We believe in order for this enemy to be defeated and for that defeat to stick, they've got to be defeated by

indigenous ground forces. The American military can come in here and destroy this enemy, we believe, in fairly short order. But it would not be

a victory that sticks. In order to get a victory that sticks, it's got to be done by the locals.

GORANI: The presidential candidates have been asked, what would they do about ISIS? Donald Trump is the Republican frontrunner. Hillary Clinton

is the Democratic frontrunner so far. Here's what both of those candidates had to say about what they would say to defeat ISIS, listen.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a worldwide fight and America must lead it. A key obstacle standing in the way is a shortage of

good intelligence about ISIS and its operations. So we need an immediate intelligence surge in the region.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me. I would bomb the (inaudible) out of them.


GORANI: Donald Trump is saying he knows more about ISIS than any of you guys, even more than the generals. All it takes is just bomb, bomb, bomb,

and then rebuild the oil fields and sell the oil and make money. What do you make of that proposal to defeat ISIS?

WARREN: Well, we've conducted more than 10,000 strikes since this campaign began that equates to more than 67,000 sorties. So there's been a

significant air pressure against this enemy. Additionally, we've brought the Iraqi army together.

Then we brought together various elements of the Syrian opposition into groups that are also putting pressure on this enemy in Syria. So there's

an air component. There is a land component and we believe that we're winning and ISIL's losing.

GORANI: Well, Donald Trump is saying those generals don't know what they're doing.

WARREN: I'm a soldier, Hala. I'm here to fight. That's what I'm going to stick to.

GORANI: Quick last question on the chemical capability of ISIS. There was an attack using chemical weapons near Kirkuk just a few days ago. You're

saying they are in a defensive crouch. They are using some nasty weaponry here. Is this worrying you?

WARREN: They are using some nasty weaponry. They've done a handful of strikes using both chlorine gas, which is an industrial chemical that can

be found really anywhere, and some sulfur mustard, which we believe that they're cooking up themselves at home, a home brew, if you will.

So this is concerning. We have ways to protect ourselves from it. We're used to operating around a chemical threat here in Iraq. We've been

operating in a way that acknowledges a chemical threat ever since 1991.

So this isn't anything new to us, but it's certainly concerning and we don't like to see the use of chemical weapons. They're really anywhere in

the world.

GORANI: Colonel Steve Warren in Baghdad, thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it this evening on the sad anniversary really for the region,

five years of a crisis, followed by a terrible war in Syria. We'll have a lot more, of course, on Syria.

Still to come, CNN takes an exclusive trip down the only rebel-held road into Aleppo. First, though, we will turn our attention back to U.S.

politics. Five primaries, hundreds of delegates, and a crucial day in the race for the White House. We are live in the United States for the latest

on Super Tuesday part three. Stay with us.



GORANI: Right now, Democrats and Republicans are voting in five states and the stakes could not be higher. Among those states, Florida and Ohio, they

are the home states of Marco Rubio for Florida and John Kasich for Ohio, and they're under big pressure to win.

If they don't, it could be the end of the road for both Kasich and Rubio. Crucially in the Republican race, whoever wins Florida and Ohio takes all

of the delegates up for grabs in each state. It's a winner take all situation.

The men who could benefit if Rubio and Kasich fail to win their home states is Donald Trump. Jim Acosta is traveling with the frontrunner. He joins

me from West Palm Beach, Florida.

So let's first of all tell our viewers what will we know tomorrow after results are known that we don't know today?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: If Donald Trump pulls off a clean sweep tonight on this Super Tuesday as they're calling it here

in the United States, Hala, he's going to be the presumptive Republican nominee, as simple as that.

Where it gets tricky is what happened if the results are mixed. If Donald Trump wins all these states, but the state of Ohio, which is john Kasich's

home state, then it's kind of a muddle. This GOP civil war drags on.

Even Marco Rubio was quoted as saying even if he doesn't win his home state of Florida, he may go on to the next primary contest in Utah. And so this

is potentially a big mess for the Republican Party if Donald Trump does not sew this up tonight.

The campaign is feeling very good about it. I talked to a top Trump official here in the state of Florida. They feel like they're going to win

big here, maybe not as big as the polls suggest, but Ohio is that big question mark looming on the horizon. We should have those results pretty

late tonight and then know where things stand.

GORANI: But it looks like it's a close race at least according to the polls in Ohio, right, because Kasich and Trump Republican neck and neck.

ACOSTA: That's right, John Kasich -- if John Kasich can win his home state of Ohio, then things get really interesting. Donald Trump needs 1,237

delegates before the convention in Cleveland in July.

If he does not reach that threshold, then chaos could really unfold at the Republican convention later on this summer. Essentially, there's a rule

book, but the GOP can write its own rules.

If Donald Trump does not get the nomination in the first go-around in terms of counting those delegate up when they get on the convention floor in

Cleveland, then it's sort of all bets are off and they have this fight, presumably with the smoke-filled rooms.

Even though they probably don't allow smoking, in whatever hotel ballroom we're in that night, Hala, but it just becomes a big mess. Part of that is

the Republican establishment has not gotten behind Donald Trump.

A case in point, earlier today, the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell said he had a phone conversation with Donald Trump earlier today.

During the conversation, he told Trump, according to McConnell, that things need to be toned down at his rallies and that Donald Trump would be well

served to discourage violence at his rallies.

When have we ever heard something like that going on with a presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency here in the United States? We're in

unchartered territory. There might be some more clarity later on tonight but, Hala, I have to be honest, there may not be.

GORANI: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you very much, in West Palm Beach, Florida, one of our team covering this important political event.

With so much on the line Tuesday, as we mentioned, shaping up to be a night. Stay with CNN for latest on these pivotal contests.

[15:20:01]I'm going to try to push through myself until the middle of the night London time. We will have live coverage as results come in from

these five U.S. states. Ohio and Florida, keep your eyes on those two.

A quick break, when we come back, a CNN exclusive from inside Syria. We will take you on the so-called road of death into the once bustling city of

Aleppo. To talk to some of the rare few who are still there. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Let's turn now to Syria on the fifth anniversary of its descent into brutal civil war. Now peace talks are under way in Geneva and some

officials are sounding hopeful. You'll hear from one of them a little later in the program.

But as you're about to see, parts of the country are utterly devastated. CNN's Clarissa Ward took the only remaining rebel-held route known as the

road of death into opposition-controlled Aleppo.

It is a dangerous journey that virtually no western journalist has made in over a year. Here's what she found.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can tell when you're getting closer to Aleppo. The streets are pock-marked

with the aftermath of fresh airstrikes. Berms of earth flank the road to protect the way from enemy fire. It's a dangerous journey to a city few

dare to visit.

(on camera): We now have to drive extremely quickly along this portion of the road, because on one side, you have the regime, and on the other side,

you have Kurdish fighters who are now fighting against rebel forces. And there are snipers all around here, but this is the only road now to get

into Aleppo.

(voice-over): As you arrive in the city, the scale of the destruction is breathtaking. Stretching on and on. Entire residential neighborhoods

reduced to rubble.

Aleppo was once Syria's largest city. A bustling economic hub. Now an apocalyptic landscape. Russian warplanes have bombed these areas

relentlessly. Allowing government ground forces to encircle the rebel-held eastern part of the city.

Still, we found pockets of life among the devastation. A fruit market huddled in the shadow of a bombed-out building. A line of people waiting

patiently to collect water, now a precious resource here.

(on camera): This is basically what is left of rebel-held Aleppo, after months and months of thousands of Russian bombs raining down on here, the

streets are largely deserted, the buildings have been destroyed, and the people, who once lived here, have been pushed out.

And the very few residents who are still here, who we've spoken to, have told us that they don't expect the situation to get any better. In fact,

they're convinced it will only get worse.

(voice-over): The 70-year-old Suad has lived in this city for 40 years. Her grandson, Farouk, is a fighter with the Islamist rebel group, Ahrar Al-


[15:25:04]In all, nine members of her family have been killed in the fighting including two of her three sons.

SOUAD, ALEPPO RESIDENT (through translator): They all died on the front line. We raise our heads high for them. God willing, they are in


WARD: What would it take for you to leave Aleppo?

FAROUQ, AHRAR AL-SHAM FIGHTER (through translator): It is true there is shelling and Russian planes and Iranian militias and every day there is a

massacre, but it is enough for us to express our religion and our faith as free people, not anyone's puppet. Is it enough for us to fight as

mujahidin and defend our honor and our women.

SOUAD (through translator): Should we leave our country and go to another country? No. This is our country and we will remain in this until we die.

WARD (voice-over): The people clinging on to life here feel the world has abandoned them, leaving them only with God. Their existence becomes more

precarious with every passing day, but surrender is unthinkable.


GORANI: Let's find out more about Clarissa Ward's exclusive reporting in Syria. She joins me now live from New York. I wonder, Clarissa, the fact

that Russia maybe pulling out the bulk of its forces and may certainly be scaling down its airstrikes in rebel-held parts of Aleppo and elsewhere.

How will that change things on the ground for those people who still live there?

WARD: I think if it actually happens, Hala, and if we really do see a dramatic reduction in, particularly, the aerial bombardment, because that's

the main thing for civilians on the ground that has been causing the most destruction and the highest casualties.

If that does happen, if this withdrawal happens in a timely manner and it really is a complete withdrawal, then obviously it will have a profound

impact on the ground. It will make this situation a lot better for people who are trying to carve out some semblance of a normal daily life in


At the same time, the gains that the regime of Bashar al-Assad has made under Russian air cover have already taken place. The entire eastern part

of the city under rebel control is basically encircled with the exception of the one road going in and out.

An estimated 320,000 people trapped in those areas. If the regime decides to make a push and close off that road, you could still be looking at a

massive humanitarian disaster.

GORANI: All right, thank you, Clarissa Ward, live in New York, and for your report. We'll have more of your reporting inside Syria on the program


Still to come, Syria has reached a tragic anniversary as we've been discussing five years since the protests morphed into the country's civil

war. We'll track the conflict's grim time line and talk with an opposition spokeswoman at the peace talks in Geneva.



GORANI: Welcome back. A look at our top stories this hour. A manhunt in Brussels for one or more potential terror suspects is still under way

according to Belgium Prime Minister, Charles Michel.


GORANI: It follows an hour-long standoff at an apartment building that was linked to the November Paris attacks. Authorities are saying this, four

police officers were injured, one suspect was killed and there's possibly one or more suspects on the run still. An area in south Brussels remains

sealed off at this hour. We'll continue to monitor that story.


GORANI: And our other top stories, voters in the U.S. are casting their ballots in crucial primaries in five states today.


GORANI: If Republican front-runner Donald Trump wins the key states of Florida and Ohio, his delegate lead may become insurmountable. On the

Democratic side, Bernie Sanders hopes to win big in mid-western states to stay alive against Hillary Clinton.


GORANI: Police in Germany say there is no evidence that a deadly car bomb in Berlin Tuesday was an act of terrorism.


GORANI: Officials are describing it as a murder. A Turkish man was killed, but it is not clear if he was the intended target.


GORANI: The catastrophe that is Syria today began on this day five years ago. What grew from a simple act of protest is a civil war that five years

on has escalated into a wrenching international conflict, one that has shattered millions of lives. Here's a look at the conflict then and now

that we caution you includes some graphic images of war.


[video playing]

CNN REPORTER: We begin with a brutal day of violence in Syria.

GORANI: Another explosion in Damascus.

CNN REPORTER: Aleppo is a bloody battleground.

CNN REPORTER: Syria spins out of control.

GORANI: Five years of bloodshed. Rights groups say over 300,000 are dead. It all began here, anti-Assad graffiti scrawled on the wall of a school in

the southern city of (inaudible). Though a small act of defiance, the teenage age boys responsible were arrested and tortured. Protesters took to

the streets in anger.

It was the spark that lit the flame of a war that would burn for half a decade. The demonstration spread across Syria. All calling for an end to

Assad's authoritarian regime. They were met with a heavy-handed response from security forces. Protesters were rounded up. Others shot at and

killed. As anger mounted, Assad's bullets turned into tanks. And then into barrel bombs. All aimed at crushing the uprising.

The opposition morphed from peaceful revolution into violent rebellion. And in August 2013, another horrifying escalation. The pictures of Sarin gas

victims shocked the world but, still, no substantial international effort to end the war.

Meanwhile, Syria's opposition groups became more fractured and more radicalized. In June 2014, a dramatic development in the landscape of the

conflict. The self-proclaimed Islamic state or ISIS declares its caliphate across Syria and Iraq. Its brutal oppression of civilians on full display.

They blow up ancient cities and enslave local populations.

August 2014, a grim propaganda video. The first of several. Shows American journalist James Foley executed in cold blood.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last night on my orders, America's armed forces began strikes against ISIL targets in Syria.

GORANI: The U.S. and its allies launch a rapid military response. By now, Syria is hosting an international war by proxy. Iran, Saudi Arabia and

Turkey all backing groups inside the country.

In September 2015, Russia officially enters the battlefield. Civilians continue to die in there tens of thousands. And millions of refugees flood

across the country's borders and into Europe.

As the war passes the five year mark President Putin of Russia announces he's withdrawing forces. A shaky cease-fire is holding in parts. Peace

talks resume in Geneva. But the optimism of those early street protests is now very hard to find.



GORANI: Well, there may be a small measure of optimism right now at the Syria peace talks that got underway yesterday in Geneva. The United Nations

Syria envoy met in the past few hours with the Syrian opposition's representatives at the talks. That meeting began with one minute of silence

that he says should have gone on for 300,000 minutes.

Farah al Atassi is a spokeswomen for the Syrian opposition's High Negotiation Committee. She joins me now live from Geneva. Let me first ask

you a little bit about the mood in Geneva today. This round of talks compared to others. Is there more optimism?

FARAH AL ATASSI, SPOKESWOMEN, HIGH NEGOTIATION COMMITTEE: Yes, Hala, we can say this round talks is actually somehow more constructive than other

rounds. And the situation is better than the previous situation. As we all know today our delegation, the Syrian revolution delegation, met with Mr.

De Mistura outlining the Syrian opposition delegation vision for the political transition. That's why we are here, focusing mainly on the

discussion also on the humanitarian aid and also on the status of the prisoner and also the continuous violation of the cessation of hostilities

the truce by the Assad regime.

These were the main talking points in today's meeting with Mr. De Mistura. However, we feel that there is an opportunity right now. There is a really

a window of opportunity. We need to seize the moment. We really need to show seriousness. We are serious.


ATASSI: We came here for a political transition. Our team is ready. We want to help our people to end the Syrian suffering. Especially, we are

celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Revolution. We don't like to see another six year or seven years of continuous suffering and pain and

destruction and death. So we are here - we're a little bit optimistic.

GORANI: You're a little bit optimistic. It's better than not optimistic at all. You say you're here because you are -- you're serious about coming to

some sort of resolution. Do you feel the regime representatives are serious as well? Do you feel like you have some sort of partner here in this

discussion or not?

ATASSI: From the statements, we heard from Jaafari, the head of the regime delegation. For the first time we see it wasn't as hostile and critical as

it used in the past. However, we would like to see a seriousness reflected in a serious engagement by discussing the main point which is Geneva

Communique, creating and establishing the transitional governing body with full executive power.


ATASSI: If we see from the - from the regime delegation, a seriousness to start discussing this specific point, not taking us towards talking about

fighting terrorism, because we're already fighting terrorism as a Syrian opposition, we don't want him to come here to negotiate on a humanitarian

file because this is not negotiable to us. We came here for a political transition. We came here to discuss politics and to discuss how we can all

as a Syrian move Syria from the status quo of destruction, death and hate - -

GORANI: I get that --

ATASSI: -- into another phase --

GORANI: I get that, I just want to ask you for a few specifics. You have presented to the U.N. Envoy the Syrian opposition's desire, its vision for

a transitional body. A time line that's been floated was maybe 18 months. We know the regime as well has presented an eight-point proposal. Is there

any overlap between the two here? Do you know what the - what the government of Bashar al Assad is proposing?

ATASSI: We're expecting tomorrow to get somehow more points from Mr. De Mistura office elaborating about these points that were proposed in the

regime delegation. We gave our proposal, focused mainly, as we said, on implementing Geneva one Communique, the (TGB). We also raised our concerns

about the violation of the truce and about the detainee and the humanitarian, the woman and children.


ATASSI: But at the same time we would like to see -- we cannot put a time frame. It's so premature Hala, to say that we can say 18 months, 2 months,

I don't -- or 20 months or later. I think we should be very careful about the time line. Right now, we want to start the engagement. This is the most

important here. Important issue here. Once we start the serious engagement about discussing the (TGB) and the political transition, then we can know

through the negotiation really how much time frame we need to implement this.

GORANI: And Farah, can I just end by asking you one very important question. And that is that you do not represent the opposition in Syria

fully, obviously.


GORANI: You don't represent the fighting groups. You don't - you certainly don't represent the extremist groups. I mean you are a political

representative for very few people in Syria recognizing you as their voice outside of Syria. So whatever deal you come to in Geneva, if you do indeed

strike a deal, how can it stick inside the country?

ATASSI: It is, it is Hala. We are somehow the most inclusive delegation of Syrian opposition, revolutionary figure. The freedom fighter, the military,

the business community, the women. We are all represented here in this delegation that somehow represent those people who have been carrying the

slogan of the revolution for the past five years and look for the truce right now.

All these years we've been hearing that the opposition are not united. They are -- somehow they cannot control the ground, they cannot communicate with

the people inside Syria. Look how the truce from our side is successful. The military and the freedom fighters within our delegation they are

committed and all the region we control at least is calm and very most important that this reflects very positively in our area as well. All the

people went out, again, to the streets, demonstrating, dancing, cheering freedom, going back to the first slogan of the revolution. We really see,

again, the spirit of the revolution, back to the streets, the Syrian civil revolution of the Syrian people are back to the street. We don't claim that

we represent the whole Syrian people but we represent a just case Hala. We have a case to make to the international community and to Mr. De Mistura.

We really would like to have Syria transit into a peaceful - a solution --

GORANI: -- and we will continue I apologize, we're going to have to leave it there. Farah Al Atassi good luck to all involved in these talks for the

sake of the Syrian people on this sad anniversary. We really appreciate your time with us this evening. From Geneva and we'll follow that story

very closely of course.

I want to bring you more from the United States. As we were mentioning it's a crucial day of voting in the race for the White House. Here's why.


GORANI: Five states are voting, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. Republicans are also voting on the northern Mariana Islands. You

may not have heard of that race, but as you can see, the number of delegates on offer there. How crucial will the results be overall? Let's

get some analysis from senior political reporter Stephen Collinson. He joins me from Washington.


GORANI: Let's talk a little bit about - so we were talking Jim Acosta about these are winner take all contests in Ohio and Florida. If trump loses Ohio

and wins Florida, then what?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's very interesting Hala. As you said, there's five states voting today. Only Ohio and Florida

matter because, as you say, they're winner take all primaries. If Trump were to win both of them, you can effectively say he's the Republican



COLLINSON: He'll eventually get to the 1,237, delegates he needs to win the nomination. If the scenario you raise there, if he wins Florida but loses

Ohio, it's going to very difficult for Trump to eventually get to that number. That means we're in the sort of -- the path to a contested

convention in July, in Ohio, when the Republican nominee will be crowned. So today really is D-day for the dump Trump movement.


COLLINSON: If Trump wins both of those states, he's effectively the nominee. If he doesn't win Ohio, the dump Trump movement can continue and

it's going to be a very contested few months in American politics on the Republican side Hala.

GORANI: A quick question on the Democrats here. Hillary Clinton is leading in the polls. But then again, she was leading in Michigan which, you know,

obviously she lost.


GORANI: So, what happens after today for Hillary Clinton if -- I mean, she does need to win them all but even if she doesn't, pretty much she's the

presumed nominee.

COLLINSON: That's right, that's the paradox of the American political system. If Bernie Sanders wins 3 of the 5 states today, we'll be talking

about his momentum, we'll be talking about how he raised doubts about Hillary Clinton's prowess in industrial states with his talk about global

trade deals, et cetera.


COLLINSON: But the fact is, even if she loses three states and wins Florida and North Carolina as she's expected to do, she's likely to extend her lead

over Sanders in the delegate count. So although Sanders will be getting all the headlines, Hillary Clinton will be several steps closer to winning the

nomination. What we do know I think is that this nomination race is going to go on probably until the summer on the Democratic side, Hala.


GORANI: Stephen Collinson, thanks very much, joining us from Washington.

COLLINSON: Thanks Hala.

GORANI: A lot more on "The World Right Now." One of the consequences of Syria's brutal civil war, is of course the human toll.


GORANI: As thousands of people continue to stream into Europe. Hear what the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has to say about this humanitarian

disaster in Europe and outside of Syria's borders coming up.



GORANI: As we take a special look at the Syrian conflict, we focus of course on the human toll. The fighting has pushed so many Syrians out of

their homes. Many are internally displaced. But some are seeking safety as far away as Germany and even Canada.


GORANI: More than 1 million people flooded into Europe via the Mediterranean last year. And the U.N. says 1 in every 2, literally half of

all those refugees, were Syrian.


GORANI: Filippo Grandi is the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. He spoke to me earlier from Washington. I began by asking him for his thoughts today

on this five-year anniversary of the civil war.


FILIPPO GRANDI, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: My thought that -- is that -- my main thought is that it comes the day after peace talks have

resumed. And I know how fragile the process is but we have to hope it succeeds because if that doesn't succeed the crisis of refugees and

displaced will continue.

GORANI: Yes, but it's already reached historic tragic proportions, just what's happening in Greece right now, a massive bottleneck of refugees

there. People so desperate, they're forming human chains across rivers to cross into Macedonia. Who is responsible for this humanitarian disaster?

GRANDI: The responsibility is with the political actors that have not been able to find a solution to the conflict for now five years. This is one of

the worst anniversaries that we have ever been asked to observe. So meanwhile, of course, we - UNHCR, partners in the humanitarian communities

have to continue to work to try and make the plight of these people less terrible than it presently is. But it is tough, difficult and it requires

a lot of resources.

GORANI: OK, but you're blaming political (inaudible) for not solving the conflict. What about European countries who are closing their borders and

creating these bottlenecks in Greece that are worsening the humanitarian situation, are they at fault?


GRANDI: The E.U. had a chance to organize the way it receive also refugees and migrants. Last year, it made some good decisions, but they were not

implemented. And then each state went on its own way. That was the mistake, not to tackle this issue as a European Union but individually. Now we have

very dangerous and negative consequences and we have to deal with them. With an emergency operation in Greece and with other measures that have to

be taken to mitigate the situation.

GORANI: Talk us through what is happening in Greece right now. Because the images are appalling. We're hearing reports of people getting gangrene, of

babies being born in tents and squalor in camps in Greece. This is Europe we're talking about, not a developing country 100 years ago, what's

happening there?

GRANDI: Definitely and I am shocked as you are. We're working closely with the Greek government. What we're asking the Greek government is to

coordinate, organize, this operation. The most urgent thing that is needed is sites, locations, where people can be moved to which are safe, where

relief can be organized where they can be fed, taken care of and sheltered. So I hope that in the next few days, this will happen. We're really putting

a lot of pressure for this to happen.

GORANI: But is it -- I mean, Greece is a country with its own problems. Do you not believe that certainly Central European or countries like Hungary,

et cetera, should share some of the burden? They are closing their borders and they're turning their backs on these refugees saying this is not our

problem. They need to be taken care of in neighboring countries like Turkey and Jordan. How do you react to statements like that from countries like


GRANDI: Of course, you know, the Syrian refugees have brought to the world a very clear message. That refugees are a global responsibility. Not just

the responsibility of a few countries. Unfortunately this message has not been received by all. Unfortunately Europe has not had the unified approach

sharing this responsibility so it has fallen on a few states. Mostly those near Syria, now Greece and then of course Germany and a few others that

have taken the largest number of refugees. Now we have to help those states and Greece is the one that at the moment needs the most help, and we need

resources to help them organize this response until we find longer term solutions.

GORANI: And last question, as you mentioned, it's a sad anniversary. Five years of the Syria crisis and subsequent war. Where will we be in five

years if we don't find a solution to this war do you think? As the - as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, as you watch this crisis unfold in

real time?

GRANDI: I hope that this crisis will be resolved. And then we will have other big challenges like reconstructing Syria and allowing people to go

back in safe conditions, those who want to return. But if it doesn't get resolved, we will see more people, more suffering, and more chaos. And one

big lesson that I hope has been learned is that large unattended large refugee movements, the root causes of which are not addressed cause

suffering to the people and instability to entire regions. Even very close to the heart of the industrialized world. I don't think the world can

afford this any longer.


GORANI: Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Coming up, she was once queen of the kitchen, now, she's a refugee in Germany.


GORANI: We'll meet a Syrian T.V. Chef who's sharing the tastes of home as she tries to build a new life.




GORANI: Well, every refugee who's marched across Europe has a story and a life that they left behind. But the story of one Syrian refugee in Berlin

is especially interesting because she was once a popular cooking show host. Here's Atika Shubert.

ATIKA SHUBERT, SENIOR CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A dusting of flour, a splash of oil, one year ago, this is how Malakeh Jazmati was welcomed

into Syrian homes. As the smiling face of Queen of The Kitchen a Syrian cooking show whose mission was much more than a tasty recipe.

MALAKEH JAZMATI, T.V. CHEF: (As translated) Today when people hear Syria, she told us, they think only of killing, destruction, bombs and I'm working

to change that. When people hear Syria, I want them to remember our delicious food, our smiles, and that we are honest good people. I try to

make them forget about all that death and destruction.


SHUBERT: Today, Malakeh is a refugee in Berlin. Her husband fled here more than a year ago and she joined him in December. Now she knows the German

name of every herb and vegetable on sale.

"I'm starting back at zero again," she says, "maybe less than zero. But I'm aiming for more than 10," she says. On the day we visit, Malakeh cooks us a

light meal, somewhere between lunch and dinner in the kitchen that she shares with a dozen other residents here. Mohammed, her husband, is given

garlic duty.

MOHAMMED, MALAKEH's HUSBAND: The only thing I am good for, just the fried eggs. (

SHUBERT: Oh, I see, so it's not chopped up.

JAZMATI: You can eat it with rice or with Arabic bread.

SHUBERT: On the menu, (maluhea) a pungent spinach-like leaf she pan fries with plenty of garlic and coriander, a Damascus specialty. And (batersh), a

dish from (Homme) City, roasted aubergine topped with a savory tomato and beef sauce, food from home.

Malakeh's cooking often becomes a community event. (Rama), another Syrian who's just moved in, and (Adrian) a German volunteer living next door, chop

the parsley and coriander. Malakeh is studying German now and she's started on a cookbook, small steps to her ultimate goal of a cooking show.

"I think of things differently now" she says. "There is a saying, you can tear down a branch but not the whole tree. Now that I'm living in shared

house for refugees, I have the benefit of living with people who encourage me and I'm stronger for it," she says.

SHUBERT: When we sit down to eat, the table has grown to include an Afghan, two German volunteers, four Syrians and one very lucky CNN crew.

Outside, snow falls and the kitchen is warm. The sound of laughter and cooking which is exactly how Malakeh, queen of the kitchen, likes it.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.


GORANI: Syrian food, excellent. This has been "The World Right Now." I'm Hala Gorani, thanks for watching, "Quest Means Business" is next.