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ISIS Lead al-Adnani Killed in Strike; Inside Liberated Jarablus, Syria. North Korean Education Minister Purported Executed. Aired 8:00a- 9:00a ET
Aired August 31, 2016 - 08:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[08:32:31] KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: Russia now says it carried out the airstrike that killed
senior ISIS leader Abu Mohammed al-Adnani. The ministry of defense says he was one of about 40 militants skilled in a strike in Syria's Aleppo
Now earlier, ISIS announced al-Adnani's death and vowed to take revenge.
And CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward joins me now live from our London bureau with more on the story. And Clarissa, first
tell us more who was al-Adnani, what role did he play in ISIS?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPNDENT: Well, Kristie, al- Adnani was widely perceived to be essentially the number two in ISIS, the person who would likely succeed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He had a very
important role not just as the spokesman, which is of course, his most public purpose, but also he was heavily involved in propaganda, and he was
also very involved in a branch of ISIS that was devoted to external operations, and specifically here I'm talking about operations in the west,
also across the Middle East, terrorist attacks that we have seen so many of in the past two years.
Some of our viewers may remember just over a year ago Adnani made a speech calling out to lone wolves, essentially saying if you don't have a
gun, if you're not part of a network, if you don't have a knife, take your car and run over the infidel, take a rock and smash the head of the enemy.
So, he was a very important figure both in terms of providing inspiration to people within ISIS and also to would-be supporters across
the world, but also a very important figure in terms of executing and helping facilitate this network, particularly in Europe.
At the same time, Kristie, we have seen this over and over again where seemingly very important leaders from very bad terrorist groups are taken
out, and yet it does not seem to have a huge impact on the resilience of the group itself, Kristie.
LU STOUT: But still we have a top ISIS leader killed. And as we've learned in the last half hour or so, Russia claims it is behind the
killing. So just looking at the overall situation, how significant is this moment in the overall war against ISIS?
WARD: It's definitely significant because ISIS -- this is just the latest in a stream of setbacks.
And we should be clear about something here, Adnani is the most senior leader of ISIS to be killed so far. He is one of the founding fathers of
ISIS. He was part of al Qaeda in Iraq which then morphed into ISIS. So this is significant. And coming on the heels of increased pressure and
momentum in northern Syria, in northern Iraq, in the ISIS stronghold of Sirte in Libya, it's absolutely a significant
and pivotal moment.
But what we shouldn't forget is that ISIS's strongest attribute is that it is flexible. It is resilient. It is adaptable. And Adnani
himself said in a speech just back in May, if you think that you're going to kill us just because you take back Raqqa or Mosul, the two main ISIS
strongholds, you have another thing coming, because this is about an ideology, it's about a shared identity, and until the enemy decides it's
ready to quit fighting, there will be no categorical victory.
LU STOUT: All right. Clarissa Ward reporting for us live from London. Thank you.
Now, North Korea reportedly has executed its top education official by firing squad, that's according to South Korean officials who add the reason
for his sentence was his bad attitude at June's party assembly. Paula Hancocks reports.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A reminder that noone is safe in North Korea. The regime of Kim Jong-un executing yet
another member of the elite. Kim Yong Jin, a top education official, was executed by firing squad in July, according to South Korea's
Accused of having a bad attitude at the key supreme people's assembly in June, investigated
by the state security department, and found to be anti-party and counterrevolutionary.
Seoul saying Wednesday they also believe two other high ranking officials have been reprimanded. This man, Kim Yong Cho, in charge of the
department that handles inter-Korean affairs, a South Korean they tell us he's accused of abusing power and being overbearing. He was apparently
sent to a farm for re-education for one month.
And officials from the propaganda department also sent away from Pyongyang since late
It's not an exact science, South Korean officials have been wrong about executions in the past. Information from the isolated country is
scarce, and North Korea almost never publicly acknowledges them.
One notable exception, December 2013, and the execution of Kim Jong- un's uncle, Jang Sung-taek, publicly accused of being a traitor of all ages.
South Korean and U.S. officials say they consider Kim Jong-un to be more brutal and impulsive
than his father the late Kim Jong-il. His willingness to execute, breeding loyalty through fear according to defectors.
A government think tank here in South Korea estimates that more than 100 officials have been
executed since Kim Jong-un took power less than four-and-a-half years ago. Rank, even family connection, meaning little to the North Korean leader.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
LU STOUT: Now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on a state visit to China. He says he brought up the Kevin Garrett case with
officials there, but provided few details. Now, Canadian Kevin Garrett and his wife ran a cafe in China near the North Korean border and they were
suddenly detained by Chinese authorities in 2014.
Earlier this year Kevin Garrett was charged with spying and stealing state secrets. His children call the charges wildly absurd. And the case
is a thorny issue between Canada Cnd china. During a visit to Canada in June, China's foreign minister even reprimanded a reporter for asking about
the Garrett case.
You're watching News Stream. We have more after this short break.
[08:40:23] LU STOUT: OK, we want to take you now live to Jarablus in northern Syria. The city is among those freed recently from ISIS, the
result of an expanding military operation by turkey's military.
Now, Nick Paton Walsh is the only western TV reporter there in Jarablus. He is embedded with the Turkish military. He joins us now live.
And Nick, what have you seen? And what are Turkish forces telling you about who they intend to target there in Syria?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, let me be clear. We're not with the Turkish military here. Yes, clearly this
is an area which the Turkish military have supervision over, but the people next to me are the Free Syrian Army, basically, those Syrian rebels which
the Turkish military has given substantial backing to, enabling them to, many say, without much of a fight, come in to this key border town of
Now why this town is so important? Well, this is one of the key (inaudible), this until just over a week ago now was the ISIS recruitment
center here. This is why Jarablus really had to be taken away from ISIS, according to the Turks, but also U.S. policy as well. It was a key hub for
those who sought to come from all over the world into Turkey, cross over what's now a wall over here, but what used to be just a border fence months
ago, and come in to here where they would then join up with ISIS.
We have been told they came across (inaudible) in a basement down there, but just look at the scenes of life in the town here -- a lot of
young out in the street, a semblance of normality (inaudible) celebratory gunfire here, too. But what is fascinating to behold is the sheer volume
of Syrian rebels who are in here. They're from moderate brigades, always have to be cautious when you say that in Syria's war, because of the mess
this fight has become, but these have received Turkish backing and vetting. We've seen a lot of the weapons on the back of their trucks to be clearly
western in origin, often actually relatively sophisticated.
They now control this town.
Now, obviously, this reminds me, frankly, a lot about 2012, when you wold come to northern Syria and you would see these more moderate FSA
groups controlling towns like this. And you can see people just trying to get life back to normal there. Kids on the streets. Reminds you very much
of moderate groups that used to control more territory in 2012.
Now, here we are. And again, with Turkish backing they've swept in to this area. One of the fighters we said actually mentioned how the Kurds,
as well as ISIS, were considered enemies, too. And this brings into view one of the complexities about this fight here. Turkey's been absolutely
clear it wants to go after the Syrian Kurds that the Americans have been using to fight ISIS, and clear them out of territory, too. And they're
going to use some of these more moderate Syrian rebels to conduct some of that fight.
But as we've often seen before, in a town like this, that's been under ISIS;s sway now for a number of years, we are talking about a city that's
trying to get back to normal. So, at this stage, Mary -- our cameraman Mary Rogers (ph) is going to pan around so I can show you further down the
streets here. Behind that pickup truck at the end of the road is one of the more gruesome sites we've been familiar with seeing when ISIS take over
a town. And that is the central square, where ISIS would carry out their punishments.
Now we've just heard from one of the children here, sadly, because this war's been going on so long, quite used to wearing camouflage smock,
fatigues, he describes how he -- well ISIS tried to recruit him to join what they call the cubs of the caliphate, their child recruits. But he
also described the gruesome scenes that used to be down there on that central square where those decapitated by ISIS would have their heads put
Now this is still it feels like a town somewhat in flux. We've heard people here asking for food, for humanitarian aid, to get life back to
normal. You see there. The rebels, some sense of -- for them, they would say. You see that man carrying an American-issue weapon.
But here is a remarkable scene of life coming back to normal.
And the broader point here is a seeing a moderate Syrian rebel group in charge of a town
like this in northern Syria has really been a tenet of what U.S. policy hoped would have happened. They've not been able to achieve it. They've
not been able to find adequate numbers of Syrian moderate rebels to do that for them.
But here, that does appear to be happening. We don't know the numbers of rebels in this town or the area around it. We do know that they appear
to be going to the front and coming back here to rest. They got some sort of system. It's obvious that a substantial Turkish military presence here.
I should point out we are here under the escort and supervision of the Turkish Prime Ministry's office. So this is very much a part of what
Turkey wants people to see. But where we standing now, we're being allowed to mix in with these Syrian rebels that Turkey has provided support to. We don't know where this will end. And this Turkish
intervention comes with great complications. The clashes with the other American ally, the Syrian Kurds, that are currently unfolding. The desire
of the Pentagon to see a cease-fire here. Syrian Kurds saying they stopped fighting last
midnight. But Turkish officials saying they don't really see a cease-fire happening. They don't necessarily see the need to adhere to that and also
criticizing the U.S. for telling them how to conduct their operation here.
But, this busy town scene here, what many perhaps think might be the beginning of this broader
Turkish intervention, which may potentially create some sort of maybe buffer zone here. That (inaudible) part of U.S. force potentially in
Syria, to create a safe haven where the refugees could return, the million or so here in southern Turkey.
We don't know where Turkey's policy is going to lead but this is a busy, lively, vibrant snapshot of quite what Turkey's managed to do by
inserting this number of moderate Syrian rebels in this town kicking ISIS out -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Nick, your reporting is a very, very vivid snapshot of the past and present of Jarablus, the Syrian city now free of ISIS control. The
news of the death of the top ISIS leader Mohammed al-Adnani, has that translated to any change on the ground there? Has that helped boost morale
among rebel fighters?
WALSH: Look, the death of the high profile figure of someone like Adnani, I have to say, not
really far from where I'm standing. Most indications the Pentagon statement suggests that the airstrike that they say targeted him happened
in al-Bab and that's about I'd say 20, 30 kilometers in that westerly direction.
Here (inaudible) high profile nature like that is of course a boost of those who seek to fight them. It is remarkable to hear the death of such a
high profile figure like Adnani and the day after, be in a town transformed like this. You know, it's been fascinating to watch the Syrian war swing
between different radical types of groups. ISIS take over areas which we previously seen moderates, al
Qaeda affiliates also take over territory, too. And to see here the groups that Turkey are willing to back as they perceive as moderate, controlling a
town in this nature, it's remarkable at the same time when you're seeing ISIS take a high profile loss like that.
We're not suggesting that the conflict is taking a marked turn. The Turkish intervention comes with extraordinary issues potentially.
But it is just strange to see this moderate sense of Syrian rebels controlling territory like this with a substantial force like Turkey
backing them. A fascinating scene to see here so close to Turkey's border -- Kristie.
LU STOUT: Our Nick Paton Walsh reporting live from Jarablus in northern Syria. The only western TV news reporter to be reporting there
inside northern Syria, fascinating picture of life in Jarablus after ISIS left that part of Syria.
And that is News Stream. I'm Kristie Lu Stout. But don't go anywhere, World Sport with Christina Macfarlane, that's next.