Return to Transcripts main page


Kerry, Lavrov to Meet About Syria; President Obama Addresses Chinese Reception, Donald Trump in Final Address at ASEAN Summit; India Lawmakers Propose Commercial Surrogacy Ban

Aired September 8, 2016 - 11:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A race against time in Syria to save lives as the bombs rain down, but elsewhere the slow crawl towards a diplomatic deal

continues. Russia and the United States meet to try to agree on the final sticking points in a much awaited deal. We get the view from London, from

Geneva, from Washington, and from Moscow in just a moment.

Also ahead this hour, how to tackle ISIS: the terror group looms large over the U.S. election this hour as the candidates lay out their vision for




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We had no hope and now we have a baby.

MANISHA TANK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And it was a labor of love, requiring the help of a surrogate mom, which is big business in India.


ANDERSON: What a ban on commercial surrogacy would mean for the country sometimes dubbed the womb of the world. A special report from India is

coming up.

Hello. And welcome. You are watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. And I want to begin tonight with Syria. We often

do, don't we?

It is a maddening vortex of cruel violence that the world cannot ignore. But now, at last, things could be about to change. Told by their

presidents to make something happen, the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers are heading to Geneva Thursday.

Russia backs the government, the Syrian government; America, the rebels fighting it. The ministers will go behind closed doors looking to finally

shake hands on a peace deal, stopping scenes like this once and for all.

Well we've heard similar things before. We all have. But this time it could be different. And here is why. A source tells CNN Washington and

Moscow agree on virtually every issue, 13 out of 15 of them. There are two sticking points. On Aleppo: control of Costello Road, and humanitarian access.

Now have a look at this. This is that road. It is crucial because it's the only way into the rebel-held east of that city.

Well, as for aid, remember activists claim the government has used access to it as a weapon, allegedly starving people into submission.

And while the U.S. and Russia try to hammer things out at the negotiating table, other big

players are making their presence felt on the battlefield. Iran is one of them, a key backer of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

These new pictures are said to show the Iranian general Khazam Solmeimani (ph) on the front lines in southern Aleppo. It's believed they were taken

a few days ago after Syria and its allies recaptured key positions from rebel forces.

Meanwhile, Turkey says it's in military talks with Washington over cooperating to hit Raqqa, that is the ISIS stronghold.

Turkey has intensified its military, as you know, in recent weeks, even rolling its tanks onto Syrian soil for the first time since the war began.

Right, for more on this, we've got Clarissa Ward for you in London, Nic Robertson is in Geneva where these talks are taking place, and Phil Black

is in Moscow.

Clarissa, I want to being with you. You reported extensively from Syria, you even spoke in front of the UN on the horrors unfolding in Aleppo. And

during that testimony, you spoke of the hell that is Syria today. That sounds like hyperbole but it isn't, you said. Explain.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not. You know, what I actually said was that when I went to Aleppo for first time in 2012 I

thought it felt like hell and I thought it couldn't possibly get any worse. And then I went again most recently just a few months ago and indeed the

situation had become worse. And there are several reasons for that. For well over a month now, government forces have essentially placed eastern

Aleppo, which is controlled by the rebels, under siege. You mentioned the Costello Road that leads in and out of the rebel-held parts of Aleppo,

which as already, Becky, an incredibly dangerous road to traverse.

That has now been completely blocked off, that means that food isn't getting in. It means that diesel isn't getting in, because there's no

power in the city. Diesel is needed to operate the generators. The generators are needed to keep the hospitals going. Dozens of hospitals

have been hit or directly targeted by the bombardment which has become significantly worse since the Russian intervention began almost a year ago


So, it's clearly not a sustainable situation. You have hundred of thousands of people who are living in that rebel held part of the city.

They have almost no supplies getting to them. The fighting is incredibly fierce, which makes leaving no longer really an option for them.

And so, obviously, there is a keen interest on the behalf of the people on the ground there to

get both sides to the negotiating table and try to hammer out some kind of a temporary ceasefire that would allow the aid to get in, that would allow

workers to go in who could repair the infrastructure that's been done to the electric grid and also to the water system, Becky.

ANDERSON: Before I get to Geneva and to Moscow to discuss those talks, we heard, Clarissa, from Turkey today saying they could go after ISIS in Raqqa

with the help of the U.S.

Here's what the Turkish deputy prime minister said. "Mr. Obama asked Mr. Erdogan to

clean Daesh or ISIS from Raqqa and Mr. Erdogan expressed that he has a positive outlook on this."

He went on to say the two sides agreed to continue technical talks, but no schedule has yet been decided.

How important is this statement from Turkey? And what is Turkey's playbook in all of this?

WARD: I think it's extremely important, because Turkey has enjoyed enormous success in a matter of just weeks in clearing the entire border

area of ISIS. They have literally gone through with the backing of several so-called moderate opposition -- Syrian moderate opposition groups and have

routed ISIS out of strongholds that it has been holding on to for more than two years. And they have done it remarkably efficiently and quickly.

So, certainly, to the Americans, it is no surprise that they would want to partner with the Turks when it comes to trying to take the more

strategically important ISIS stronghold in Syria of Raqqa.

The real issue, though, Becky is that the Americans are relying most significantly on the ground on their proxies who are the Kurds, the YPG,

which are closely affiliated with the PKK which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization and that has caused an enormous amount of friction

between Turkey and U.S. And it's possible that Turkey is essentially dangling this as a possible carrot. We will help you go into Raqqa and

push ISIS out of there once and for all but you will have to seriously change who you are using and working with as allies on the ground in Syria

because we view them as being a threat to our national security.

ANDERSON: If there were a glimmer of hope, you have just alluded to Jarablus and Turkey's efforts to clear that area. We have just been seeing

pictures as you have been speaking, Clarissa, of some 300 Syrians who are the first back into Syria from Turkey. These were refugees going back

since that incursion by Turkey.

So, let's tick a box against a glimmer of hope to that degree.

Nic, then, we are told that the U.S. and Russia are on the cusp of a peace deal. In words of one syllable, if you will, what are the sticking points

at this point and how incredible is this deal?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Trust is the biggest issue here. The gaps that President Obama talked about their positions at the

G20, and then you had President Putin coming out after that and saying well, actually we could do a deal in a couple of days. Those two

statements just don't match up.

The United State doesn't particular trust Russia at all. Every time they have expected Russia -- and that's not just several times earlier this

year, but also going back to the last big round of talks in Geneva two years ago, every time they have expected Russia to muscle up to President

Assad and say, hey look, you know, we're the power behind your throne, but you're going to have to step aside to get peace in Syria, they haven't done


So, there is that lack of trust out of the window. It hasn't happened. There's nothing reliable there.

The other part that's questionable here is those 13 of 15 points that were hammered out here over a number of weeks in Geneva before the G20 meeting,

the U.S. perception is that Russia walked back -- I mean, here when we say Russia we mean the Kremlin and Putin -- walked back on some of what was

agreed here before.

So, we still have 13 out of 15 agreed or have we slipped back from that? So, trust again central to that issue right there.

And of course then there is the question of power. Power will be the other word here. Does Sergey Lavrov, President Putin's foreign minister, really

have the power to come here and speak for the president agree to things? Thing that then go back to the president and don't get turned around again?

Because that's the perception of what happened at the G20, something agreed here, goes back to Moscow and it gets turned over. That's the problem.

ANDERSON: Is Lavrov in a position to pull something off, then, Phil? That's the question.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, indeed, and the language from the Russians is essentially positive, Becky. They think that

they are close to something here.

But it's interesting, the way they described, the terms they used to describe this whole negotiating effort is very different to those used by

the U.S. officials.

Here in Moscow, this is described as an effort to try and secure some sort of coordinated anti-terror effort between the U.S. and Russia. There is no

talk of a nationwide ceasefire, no talk of humanitarian relief, no talk of grounding the Syrian air force or kickstarting the political process to try

to come up with some ultimate resolution to the overall conflict.

It is much more narrow, much more specific publicly at least. And so in that context, again publicly, the Russians say the number one obstacle to

securing a deal -- and they say this has been the case throughout -- is the issue of separating those they consider to be terrorists on the ground and

those the Russians describe as the healthy opposition, or what the Americans often describe as the moderate opposition.

Those groups that the Americans on the ground are working with closely, helping them in their efforts against the Syrian regime and President


Now, when Russia talks about terrorists, it often mentioned al Nusra, that's the group was al Qaeda's sworn affiliate in the region. Now,

America doesn't like al Nusra very much either, but on the ground they are considered part of that combined effort with those other

more so-called moderate forces in going up against the Syrian regime and going head to head with Assad.

So while both Russia and the U.S. agree that al Nusra are terrorists, in this case Russia continues to say that it is America's responsibility to

disentangle them from the other fighters on the ground to ensure that there is no confusion on the battlefield. It's America's long standing

responsibility to do so. And they say repeatedly that up until now America has failed to achieve that -- Becky.

ANDEROSN: All right. To both of you on the talks, thank you.

Let me just get back to you, Clarissa, if we can.

We talked about the fact that Northern Syria had been swept, as it were, by Turkey, on the border and that some Syrian refugees have been lucky enough

to return. Those are the very, very lucky few of course. Things don't exactly look good for the millions who have fled, not least these Syrian


Clarissa, we are looking at these satellite images from Human Rights Watch apparently showing

the tens of thousands of refugees stranded at the country's border with Jordan. Here, many are gathered around areas where water is handed out

. This is what the what those scenes look like on the ground. The UN says some 70,000 people

just in this spot are in desperate need of help.

It puts you at a loss for words. What are yours?

WARD: It does put you at a loss for words, and it also gives you a real sense of perspective on what these neighboring countries are going through

here -- Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey. They are hosting millions of Syrians at great, great difficulty, at great, great expense. And you have to take

into consideration the strain that all these refugees are putting on their

schooling systems, on their electric grid, on their economies. It's not a sustainable situation.

You cannot have a situation where 50 percent or close to 50 percent of the population of an entire country is displaced, where 4 million of those

people are now living in neighboring countries or flooding across into Europe.

Clearly, something has to give, something has to change. And everybody is waiting to see

not with a great deal of optimism, I would say, whether that change might be announced in Geneva, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right, Clarissa is in London for you tonight; Nic in Geneva at those talks; and Phil with the perspective from Russia. Thank you for

the time being. So much to talk about in this region.

Let's bring in Laura Rozen. She is a reporter for our al-Monitor and joins me live from Washington.

The slaughter of Syrians is Obama's shame is the headline in one report I wrote today. Is it?

LAURA ROZEN, AL MONITOR: I think that it is a shame, you know, 400,000 people have been killed. And you know -- you know, even containing the

terrorism problem within Syria has been a failure. You have the largest number of foreign fighters in history.

So, you know, they have even from just the real politik angle they have failed to contain that.

ANDERSON: Laura, it was only 72 hours ago at the G20 meeting in China, that Obama failed to salvage a deal with Putin on Syria citing gaps of

trust. You are in Washington. From their perspective, what has changed at this point?

ROZEN: So you saw that the two presidents send their foreign ministers to keep talking. They have had White House officials, (inaudible) have been

in Geneva talking with the Russian counterparts with these military and intelligence teams. And I think they have been able to narrow some of the


The U.S./Syria envoy sent a letter to the Syrian rebels while they were in China when they thought they were going to get a deal describing the

elements. He told them that under the agreement the Russians would keep the Syrian air force from flying and they would agree that the Syrian

opposition would not be bombed, even the Syrian opposition commingled with the al Qaeda-linked al Nusra. It's -- they will agree together focus on

targeting what Ratney (ph) said was, you know, al Qaeda in Syria as well as the Islamic State.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

Listen, how significant do you think the appearance of the Iranian General Kassam Soleimani (ph) on the front lines in southern Aleppo has been? That

has been reported sightings. And we have got some shots here to substantiate that that just in the past couple of days.

ROZEN: Yeah, you know, it's interesting, Kassem Soleimani (ph) had been seen in a lot of photographs when there were more operations around

Fallujah in Iraq a few months ago. And then he really had lowered his media profile, and then suddenly last week he appeared again allegedly in

Aleppo just as the Syrian regime retook that southwest Aleppo area where this artillery faculty -- where the rebels side had been to break the


ANDERSON: What is the message, Laura, do you think?

ROZEN: That Iran has a role in rebesieging Aleppo and helping the regime rebesiege Aleppo.

ANDERSON: And we're going to leave it is at that for the time being. Fantastic analysis over the past 17 minutes from our correspondents and

from Laura on a story which is so incredibly important.

We are told we are in the cusp of a peace deal. Our correspondents, a little less optimistic this evening.

Still to come, it has been systematically destroyed during five years of war. So, how would you rebuild Syria? We are going to hear from an

architect who has written a book on that, just that. That is coming up.

And Hillary Clinton takes aim at Donald Trump the morning after what was a combative presidential forum. We'll have the very latest on the race for

the White House. That's next.


ANDERSON: A clash of ideas at a commander-in-chief forum highlights the big divide

between the U.S. presidential candidates on national security.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton appeared back to back in a town hall format last night. Much of the forum focused on foreign policy. But Trump

also made headlines by standing by his belief that men and women serving together in the U.S. military leads to sexual assault.

Listen to this exchange with the moderator.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: In 2013 on this subject you tweeted this, quote, 26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military, only 238 convictions.

What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it is -- it is a correct tweet. There are many people that think that that's absolutely



ANDERSON: Well, you are watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

The candidates, the U.S. presidential candidates were also grilled on everything from ISIS to the Iraq War to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has the details for you. Have a look at this.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump drumming up more controversy.

TRUMP: The man has very strong control over the country.

SERFATY (voice-over): Praising Vladimir Putin while trashing President Barack Obama.

TRUMP: He has been a leader far more than our President has been a leader.

SERFATY (voice-over): And attacking the performance of U.S. military generals, standing by his statement, claiming he knows more about ISIS than

the generals do.

TRUMP: Under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point

where it is embarrassing for our country.

SERFATY (voice-over): But giving no details on his plan to defeat ISIS.

TRUMP: I have a substantial chance of winning. If I win, I don't want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is.

SERFATY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton making clear her plan to fight ISIS will not include ground troops.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to do it with air power. We've got to do it with much more support for the Arabs and the

Kurds who will fight on the ground against ISIS. We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again, and we're not putting ground troops into


SERFATY (voice-over): Clinton getting grilled over her use of a private e- mail server while serving as Secretary of State and her vote to go to war with Iraq.

CLINTON: Classified material has a header, which says top secret, secret, confidential. Nothing, and I will repeat this and this is verified in the

report by the Department of Justice, none of the e- mails sent or received by me had such a header. I think that the decision to go to war in Iraq was

a mistake.

SERFATY (voice-over): Later, Trump repeating his false claim that owe opposed the Iraq war from the start.

TRUMP: I've always said, you shouldn't be there.


TRUMP: Yes, I guess so. You know, I wish it was -- I wish the first time it was done correctly.

SERFATY (voice-over): And declaring that the U.S. should have stolen oil from Iraq.

TRUMP: But if we're going to get out, take the oil. If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn't have ISIS. It used to be to the victor belong the


SERFATY (voice-over): And sparking outrage for defending his controversial 2013 tweet that suggests sexual assault in the military is a result of

women serving alongside men.

TRUMP: It is a correct tweet. There are many people that think that that's absolutely correct. You have reported -- and the gentlemen can tell you,

you have the report of rape and nobody gets prosecuted. There are no consequence.

SERFATY (voice-over): Also drawing criticism, NBC News Anchor Matt Lauer being accused of aggressively questioning Clinton.

CLINTON: I have time. I will --

MATT LAUER, HOST, NBC NEWS: I want to get to a lot of questions.

CLINTON: I will talk quickly.

SERFATY (voice-over): And not fact checking Trump's claims throughout the events.

TRUMP: I was totally against the war in Iraq, perhaps almost as bad was the way Barack Obama got out. That was a disaster.

LAUER: People talk about you and Commander-in-Chief, and not just Secretary Clinton but some of your Republican opponents in the primary season, and

they wonder about your temperament.


ANDERSON: Well, Hillary Clinton says the townhall was another test for Donald Trump, and she said he failed yet again.

Well, she is making news not only for what she said, but how she said it. Clinton spoke to reporters this morning, and then took questions. As Trump

often reminds voters, she hadn't held a formal news conference in months.

Clinton took the opportunity to rip into her opponent.


CLINTON: One thing you didn't hear from Trump last night is any plan to take on ISIS, one of the biggest threats facing our country. He says his

plan is still a secret, but the truth is he simply doesn't have one. And that's not only dangerous, it should be disqualifying.


ANDERSON: Let's bring in CNN's executive editor for politics Mark Preston, a regular guest on the show, joining us from Washington tonight.

Look, Mark, Hillary Clinton unleashing a torrent of attacks against Donald Trump's preparedness to be commander-in-chief. And question is patriotism

today. What did you make of her news conference this morning, the first in a very long time by the way.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yeah, no doubt. And we have only seen her coming out to the cameras now just a couple of times in the

last few days, Becky, and for her viewers around the world, Hillary Clinton has pretty much kept this campaign very tight, very scripted and she has

not really addressed the media.

However, what we saw just in the past hour or so now Hillary Clinton coming out and trying to rebut what Donald Trump said last night in this

nationally televised forum here in the U.S. where Donald Trump talked about all types of issues from ISIS to Syria and what have you.

Now, there were a couple of things, I think, that our viewers around the world, world leaders who are tuning in right now are certainly going to key

in. One, Hillary Clinton doubled down on her plan that if elected president she will not send U.S. ground troops into Iraq or into Syria.

She said again today, she said it last night, said it again today, that she doesn't think it is in the best effort.

Same thing is that she was very critical of Donald Trump for his praise of Vladimir Putin at the same time of being critical of Barack Obama.

ANDERSON; Mark, just back to the odd sort of set up last night, this town hall, as it were. Would it be fair to say that everybody on the stage last

night failed, including the moderator?

PRESTON: You know, I think so, Becky, you are right. I mean, if you were to have a takeaway from last night's townhall. One, it was very short when

you are talking about terrorism, national security, foreign policy the candidates only had about 25 minutes each to actually answer questions.

There was a lot of criticism of the moderator, Matt Lauer here in the U.S., a very popular morning host for the fact that it appeared he was too hard

on Hillary Clinton and really let Donald Trump get away with making statements that were not based in fact.

And to your point, Hillary Clinton came off very defensive last night. If you are just tuning into the election now and you saw Hillary Clinton last

night you would think she was very defensive to the questions she was being asked.

At the same time, Donald Trump offered no details whatsoever, he just continued to talk in broad platitudes about how he would be a better

commander-in-chief than her.

ANDERSON: Mr. Preston, we appreciate it. I know our viewers do. Thank you.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, India may no longer be the place to go for couples wanting a baby. We look at why the country is looking to stamp out commercial surrogacy.



ANDERSON: Well, let's stick with that election then, that U.S. election in November. The U.S. presidential candidates gave Americans a

preview of how they would perform in the debates on Wednesday night.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appeared separately in what was a forum hosted by NBC. And the event revealed stark differences in how the

candidates intend to manage foreign policy and national security if they are elected president.

Well, let's break down those differences with Fawaz Gerges. He is the chair of contemporary Middle East studies at the London School of

Economics. And he is the author of the book "ISIS: A History."

Look, Fawaz, we are told that the world stands on the cusp of a deal on Syria at present. Should that deal be pulled off, maybe the presidential

candidates don't have to worry about Syria. But that's not likely, is it?

So what did you hear from them on Syria that impressed you, if anything?

FAWAZ GERGES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Becky, we know where Hillary Clinton stands. Hillary Clinton has made it very clear,

she will not send boots on the ground either to Iraq and Syria. She called it the lessons of Iraq, the catastrophe of American intervention in Iraq.

If you ask me how to summarize Hillary Clinton's approach to the Middle East, it will be more of the same of Barack Obama -- relying on local

forces, using American air power, using American special forces. It's really the continuation of

Barack Obama approach.

With Donald Trump, Becky, truly, everything that he has said so far we do not know where he stands. We do not know whether he has foreign policy

vision. Comes cross incoherent, ill-informed, lack of complexity, all over the map. On ISIS, I mean, it is disastrous. He says -- first, he says,

it's going to take him 30 days to defeat ISIS. This is the height of ignorance, because we know that it's going

to take years to defeat ISIS. Even if you dislodge ISIS from the major towns and cities in Iraq and Syria, ISIS will mutate into a terrorist


So we know where Hillary Clinton stands, we do not know where Donald Trump does, or if he has any ideas. My take on Donald Trump and the Middle East

he is more of an isolationist than really an active or a coherent foreign policy.

ANDERSON: Fawaz, our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, my colleagues, spoke to the U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter,

about the war in Syria and Washington's support for support for the Syrian Kurds, the very same Syrian Kurds who are Washington's ally, Ankara sees as

the arch enemy, of course. So, there is an issue there.

In an exclusive interview, she asked the secretary what the Kurds could expect from the U.S. going forward. We all understand this is incredibly

complex. Have a listen to this.


ASH CARTER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The Syrian Kurds are an important ingredient in the Syrian Democratic forces, which we are supporting. They

have been an important part of the strength. And they have been successful on the battlefield. And we have kept our commitments to them and they have

kept our commitments to us.

They are a valuable partner to us therefore. And we intend to continue to keep our commitments to them as they move towards Raqqa.

Now, at the same time, we intend to keep our commitments to Turkey. And you are absolutely right and you understand this very well, they don't get

along with one another. That happens.

We understand very clearly what our interests are here, which are the defeat of ISIL. We communicate that to them and we work with both sides

and we try to manage the tension.


ANDERSON: Are the Kurds about to be dumped once again by the U.S. as they have been let down in the past?

GERGES: I think so, Becky. I think at one point must be made very clear, the Americans do not support the Kurds' political aspirations and ambitions

in Syria. This is the end of the story. The Americans have used the Kurds as the most effective force against Daesh or ISIL in Syria.

Time and again American forces have made it very clear basically their relationship with the Syrian Kurds is very limited to the fight against


The reality is, Turkey is one of the most important allies of the United States. It has the second largest army in NATO. So, at the end of the

day, the Americans have made up their mind, to support Turkey.

And the Kurds really, they do not support the Kurds vis-a-vis any kind of federal system or even an autonomous entity in Syria.


We have been talking about the fact there is an election in 61 days, a presidential debate in something like two and a half weeks. But there is a

U.S. election in 61 days.

And we regularly talk about the two main candidates of course. And we heard perhaps loosely termed, their foreign policy positions in this town

hall last night.

There are two other characters around this presidential election, and one of them is the Libertarian presidential nominee, who stumbled over a

question about this civil war in Syria during an appearance on MSNBC. I don't know if you have heard this, but if you haven't, have a listen to

this exchange with Gary Johnson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do if you were elected, about Aleppo.



JOHNSON: And what is aleppo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are kidding?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aleppo is in Syria, it's the epicenter of the refugee crisis...

JOHNSON: OK. Got it. ot it.


ANDERSON: Well, Johnson since released a statement saying he made a human error and understands the dynamics of the conflict in Syria. The candidate

says he also understands the significance of Aleppo.

What's your response to that moment in time?

GERGES: I'm not surprised, Becky. I mean, in fact, Donald Trump is really very much ignorant about the Middle East. Whether he talks about ISIS,

whether he talks about regional rivalries, whether he talks about sectarianism, he has no idea what's happening in the Middle East.

I mean, think about it, Becky. He says he was against the Iraq war, and yet he criticizes President Barack Obama for pulling out of Iraq. He says

wants to work with Putin on Syria, that he does not realize that any relationship with Russia in Syria basically provides ideological ammunition

to ISIS.

And it tells you about the level of ignorance about American foreign policy in the Middle East by two of the major candidates in the U.S. presidential


ANDERSON: Fawaz, while we await the result of these talks, it feels like we've been here before, doesn't it? Well, the point is we have. It's like

a deja vu, isn't it. But as we await the outcome of these talks on Syria in Geneva between the U.S. and Russia, I want to show you these new

pictures and our viewers, showing the Damascus suburb of Dariyah (ph).

Now, a report says thousands of people are leaving. And it's just one example of how local ceasefires and territory swaps are playing out on the


At a meeting on Wednesday a spokesman for the Syrian opposition bloc said, and I quote, we need a lasting solution to Syria's nightmare, not local

ceasefires or temporary cessations that can be exploited by the regime and its Russian ally.

I know, UN Syrian envoy actually had felt like these temporary cessations of violence were a good idea and had been preaching for them. Are these

deals overall a good thing?

FAWAZ: Well, Becky, they are not local ceasefires, they are basically surrender on the part of the armed opposition factions, whether you are

talking about earlier in Homs, then in Dariyah, and now in Madamiyah (ph) in Damascus, this is basically the Syrian government has forced the armed

opposition in the suburbs of Damascus to surrender.

There is no -- there are no local ceasefires.

This tells you a great deal, Becky, about the balance of power, how the balance of power has shifted in Assad favors thanks to Russia's support,

thanks to Iran's support and thanks to Hezbollah support. And this is why John Kerry and

Lavrov, his Russian counterparts, are trying to find a deal, trying to have -- I mean a ceasefire throughout Syria, trying to basically come to a

particular deal.

My take on the talks between the American foreign secretary and the Russian foreign secretary is that even if they reach a deal in the next 48, how do

you translate it into reality on the ground? It's very difficult.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Fawaz, a regular guest on our show. We thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, you are watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Coming up, India working to ban commercial surrogacy. We will discuss the consequences of that decision. That's next.


ANDERSON: You are watching CNN. This is Connect the World. With me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back. It is quarter to 8:00 in the evening here

in the UAE.

India has become a prime destination for medical tourists seeking surrogate mothers, often at very cheap prices. Well, critics say that encourages

rent a womb exploitation of young poor Indian women.

The Indian government agrees and it's now proposing legislation that would lock foreigners and many Indian's out of the country's fertility clinics.

This, first, from Alexander Field.


ALEXANDRA FIELD (voice-over): Becky, the women who serve as surrogates here in India make thousands of dollars for doing it, and that's substantial

money here, but it is about a fifth of the money that surrogate moms make in other countries, including the U.S. The proponents of this bill who

want to put an end to paid surrogacy say they are preventing the exploitation of some of the country's poorest women. But those who are

against the bill say they're cutting off an important stream of livelihood for some of these poor women, and they're also dashing the hopes of would-

be parents from, frankly, all over the world.


FIELD: That's the sound they waited 22 years to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We had no hope and now we have a baby.

FIELD: And it was a labor of love, requiring the help of a surrogate mom, which is big business in India.


FIELD: The country has been called the womb of the world. A few years ago, CNN took you to the heart of it, a town filled with women dubbed by critics

as having wombs for rent. Now the government is working to put the whole business out of business.

DR. SOUMYA SWANinaTHAN, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INDIAN MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL: We thought the government felt that it's very, very important that we move

a bill to protect these women. We've received a large number of complaints, but with most of the complaints are about people who are either not given

the amount that they were promised or who had some complications that were not covered medically or to do with the children who were left behind.

FIELD: Dr. Soumya SwaNinathan, director general at the Indian Medical Research Council, helped draft the bill. It would clamp down on the more

than 2,000 under-regulated fertility clinics operating in the country. If passed, it would put an end to paid surrogacy, and an end to paychecks

worth thousands of dollars for these women, among the country's poorest, women who might otherwise earn a few hundred in a year.

They didn't want to be identified because they say there's a social stigma surrounding surrogacy.

"With the money, the future of our children will be good, we will educate them. We are benefiting from it and helping others who don't have children,

she says."

(on camera): If passed, India's ban to prevent surrogacy would not only prevent poor women from making a substantial amount of money as surrogates,

it would stop people from all over the world from coming to India to have babies, and that includes Indian parents, gay couples and single women. The

only people that could have babies would be married heterosexual Indian couples who have not been able to have a baby in five years and who are

unable to find an unpaid surrogate family member.

(voice-over): This doctor can delivered hundreds of babies from surrogate mowers. She delivered this baby and a hundred other babies from surrogate

mothers. She argues the government is stripping women of the right to make choices about their bodies and earn money they need.

DR. KABANI BANERJEE, OPPOSES SUROGACY BILL: Perhaps their intention is good of the government, but I feel they are ill-informed.

FIELD: A disservice, she believes, toward the women who depend on thepaychecks and the ones who still hope to hear this.


FIELD: So, Becky, if this law passes what's to stop an illegal system of paid surrogacy from cropping up across the country? Well, supporters of

the bill say it comes with stricter regulations for fertility clinics, it also comes with fines and possible imprisonment for doctors who would

violate this law.

On top of that, the supporters of the bill say that surrogacy should be considered a last resort and that more people should consider adopting --



ANDERSON: Alex Field in India.

Well, commercial surrogacy is only allowed in a few countries, a handful of U.S. states permit commercial surrogacy, and it's legal in Russia and

Ukraine, but mainly for heterosexual couples.

Thailand recently banned commercial surrogacy for foreigners.

Well, for more on all of this, let's go now to London where we can speak with Colin Rogerson. He's an international surrogacy lawyer.

Just how significant, firstly, would a ban on regulated surrogacy be? And isn't it in India just likely to push the industry underground?

COLIN ROGERSON, INTERNATIONAL SURROGACY LAWYER: Yes, that's certainly one of the concerns when you overregulate surrogacy, because it creates an

underground movement where people would go and escape the regulation that the laws are

there to prevent.

And of course, the laws are there to protect women's rights and to prevent women from being exploited as surrogates. And if you just drive surrogacy

underground then that doesn't really achieve that aim and it could create far worse scenarios for them, yes.

ANDERSON: Surrogacy services recently banned in neighboring Nepal, of course, you'll be aware. Last year you may remember the ethics of

international commercial surrogacy was thrust into the spotlight when Israel evacuated

dozens of babies born to Nepalese women in the wake of that country's devastating earthquake, but the surrogate mothers left behind. None of

them were allowed to travel.

It's instances like that that critics of commercial surrogacy point to, of course. Is there some truth to the view that there is a hint of

exploitation in this?

ROGERSON: I think there are instances of exploitation. People can be taken advantage of. But there is a difference as well between third world

surrogacy and surrogacy that happens in the western world, as you have said. Some of the American states have very well established laws relating

to surrogacy, but of course the U.S. is much more expensive.

So what we're seeing is that many of the third world destinations, so to speak, in the developing countries are being closed off because surrogacy

is happening where there are no laws. And then laws that are being implemented in these countries are tending to be very restrictive and

preventing surrogacy from taking place.

So, surrogacy is then popping up in new countries where it wasn't really established.

ANDERSON: Yeah. and briefly, where are you talking about?

ROGERSON: Well, India has been quite restrictive for some time. And when India closed down we saw a lot of people going to Nepal, to Thailand,

Cambodia started to show up. We've seen some case of surrogacy in Mexico although Mexico has recently closed down, and some in Africa, so Nigeria,

Uganda, those kind of countries where there are no laws and that's quite concerning.

ANDERSON: Very briefly, are surrogates looked after properly health wise? Are you convinced? Always?

ROGERSON: Not always looked after, but in a properly regulated system, yes, they are, where there is counseling and support throughout the

pregnancy. And some states have certain requirements that surrogates need to establish before you can

use that person as a surrogate.

And where you regulate systems, where clinics are regulated, doctors are regulated, this can all -- you know, we can safeguard the interests of the

surrogate and indeed the intended parents.

ANDERSON: But clearly there are instances that keep you awake at night, right?

ROGERSON: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there are some -- you know there are shocker stories of someone in Japan wanting multiple surrogates and then to

select which child he wanted and then the rest to go up for adoption. So, you know -- and of course the Baby Gamy (ph) case in Thailand a couple of

years ago really highlighted some of the problems.

But you know, these are small cases, and the vast majority of surrogacy arrangements there aren't exploitation. The surrogates are well prepared.

They know what they are getting into. There is a degree of altruism in what most surrogates do. You know, they don't just do it for the money,

although perhaps some in the developing world may be more motivated by the money because it is life changing, sorry.

ANDERSON: OK. All right. We appreciate your analysis tonight. Thank you. Expert analysis there on a story which is a compelling one.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Coming up, a Syrian architect watched her hometown collapse. We'll share her

vision for how all of Syria can rebuild. That is coming up.


ANDERSON: Well, we have been speaking a lot about Syria, haven't we, this hour. And the violence and the stalled efforts for peace. But we want to

end the show with a note of optimism, a Syrian architect who has plans to rebuild her devastated hometown and unity in Syria. Her vision is today's

Parting Shots.


MARWA AL-SABOUNI, ARCHITECT: buildings do not lie to us, they tell the truth without taking sides. In telling the story of my city, and the

story of my country, I also tell my own story.

The sounds of bombings and falling buildings just near, just nearby, and the sound of the battles is very horrifying, but too I guess you get used

to it.

By recapturing the values that used to be represented in areas that were let's say successful in binding people and make them, you know, feel at

home, architecture that can manage to build a home for people, from my point of view is the architecture.

We have been like prisoners at home for over two years except for going to the end of the street. You can't go any further. And you can't go out

after sunset. I am just hoping that I have through this book and through this journey this day have shed a light on what is important for us to

highlight and to hold on to.

In the work of healing, architecture is as important as anything else we might do. We all need to put our minds to this task of finding a new way

to build which will also emerge from the old way so that places like Syria regain what they have lost.

Some people are still here so there must be hope for us to stay here. There must be hope for not all of us to vanish.


ANDERSON: We must never give up hope.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World.