Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

U.S. Apologizes for Airstrike on Syrian Forces; Bomb in New York City; Fragile Syrian Ceasefire on Verge of Collapse. Aired 11a-12p.

Aired September 18, 2016 - 11:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:00:13] SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: A stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Moscow and Washington trade barbs after dozens of Syrian soldiers are killed in U.S.-led airstrikes. We are live in Damascus

this hour getting reaction from an adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, an interview with Lithania Tavan (ph) just ahead for you.

Plus--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was startlingly loud. It was very, very scary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: New York rocked by an explosive device in the city center. The latest on the investigation is coming up.

And--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, there is a lot to sing about for one Emmy nominee. We're going to take a look at the changing fortunes of the Carpool Karaoke star.

At just after 7:00 in the evening in the UAE, a very good evening. Welcome to Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.

We are now six days and counting into Syria's so-called ceasefire. The United States and Russia are meant to be thinking about working together

there, but we are a long way from scenes like this right now. Moscow called an emergency meeting at the UN on Saturday after an airstrike by the

American-led coalition, killing dozens of Syrian soldiers.

Many others were wounded.

Well, Washington says it thought they were ISIS militants and is expressing regret about what happened, but that is not convincing Moscow's top brass.

Take a listen to the American, then Russian ambassadors right after that security council meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWER: Even by Russia's standards, tonight's stunt, a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding is uniquely cynical and hypocritical.

VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO UN: It is quite significant and frankly suspicious that the United States chose to conduct this particular

airstrike at this time.

In all my years in international life, I have never seen D which is over 40 years, I have never seen such an extraordinary display of American heavy-

handedness as we are witnessing today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: While the diplomats argue the battle raging. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has been on the frontlines with government troops and sent us this

report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're only about 15 kilometers, that's about 9 miles away, from the Syrian military's front

line with ISIS. Now this is near the Raqqa area. And needless to say that there's a lot of anger here among the soldiers, but also among the

generals, at these airstrikes that have taken place and where the Syrian military and the Syrian government say that more than 80 of their soldiers

have been killed around Deir ez-Zor and about 120 were wounded in that incident.

Now, the Syrian government goes even further and says that because of those airstrikes that took place in which they blame on the U.S.-led coalition

that ISIS was actually able to advance there in Deir ez-Zor taking a strategically very important hill overlooking the Deir ez-Zor airport.

To keep in mind that in that area the Syrian military is actually surrounded by ISIS as are about 300,000 civilians in Deir ez-Zor as well,

so it's a very important battlefield, but also one where the Syrian military and a lot of civilians are still under siege D one of the biggest

besieged areas here in this country.

Now, the U.S., for its part, says it did conduct airstrikes in that area and may have accidentally hit the Syrian military while it was trying to

hit ISIS targets. The Russians, for their part, are even blaming the U.S. and saying that they are possibly colluding with ISIS.

This is, of course, something the U.S. very much rejects.

All of this, of course, very bad for the current ceasefire here in Syria, which is having a hard time anyway. We were in Aleppo last night where

there was a lot of shelling that could be heard. There was also one very loud thud that we heard followed by airplane noises, so while the U.S., the

UN and Russia all say that they believe that the ceasefire is still holding, it certainly does appear as though there are more breaches than

there have been in the past couple of days.

And the other thing that's also a very big problem is that aid that was supposed to reach a lot of these besieged areas is still stuck on the

border between Turkey and Syria. And this incident, of course, is something that makes all of this, the whole situation, a lot more

difficult.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Asriyah (ph), Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[08:05:13] ANDERSON: So, we're asking can the deal survive. Fred, who filed that report joining us on the phone from the Syrian capital Damascus,

Matthew Chance standing by in Moscow.

Fred, let me start with you. You are back in Damascus alluding to explosions that you heard yourself in Aleppo last night. And we are just

getting word that war planes have struck the northern city of Aleppo Sunday for the first time since this seven day truce.

As you are now back in Damascus, this is a very uneasy truce. Where you are, does it feel like this is likely to hold?

PLEITGEN: Well, you know it maybe half a day ago I would have said that it could possibly have a chance to hold, but it certainly seems as though many

people here on the ground are more skeptical especially after those airstrikes that took place there in Deir ez-Zor.

But also after some events that took place both here in Damascus and in Aleppo as well, Becky. Here in Damascus, you've had some pretty heavy

clashes in the Jilbar (ph) area, which is an area fairly central in Damascus, held by the opposition that's surrounded by Syrian government

forces. There were some shelling that happened there today, also some yesterday as well. And it really seems as though the breaches to this

ceasefire are becoming more.

And it was the same thing that we also witnessed in Aleppo as well. The first few days that we were there, and it was very little in the way of

gunfire that could be heard. But then as time dragged on, and especially also with aid not really arriving there in that city, you did find that

there were breaches more often.

And late last night, I have to say there was a lot of shelling that was going on, and then also that thud that we heard, which seemed to be, or

could very well have been from an airstrike. That was also something that was very unique in those days since the cessation of hostilities has begun.

And the Russians for their part have also said that they believe that with these airstrikes that took place in Deir ez-Zor that the ceasefire is in

trouble.

But I think generally with the lack of movement on the ground, the lack of aid getting to a lot of these besieged areas, it's becoming more and more

difficult to sustain that cessation of hostilities, Becky.

ANDERSON: Matthew, as we heard a little earlier, one U.S. official accusing Russia of, quote, grandstanding on these airstrikes D mistaken

airstrikes as far as the U.S.-led coalition are concerned against Syrian soldiers. That illicited a stinging rebuke from Moscow.

Listen, we've all been warmed by the images of relative calm in Syria over the past week, but now Moscow saying that this threatens to push everything

back into what has been this chaotic violence. Is the Kremlin on the brink of calling it quits at this point so far as this truce is concerned?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, I think this truce has always been very tenuous. I mean, from the outset six days

ago, both sides really started to blame each other for not holding up their end of the bargain.

The Russians were meant to reign back the Syrian armed forces and to get them to withdraw their forces from the main road going into eastern Aleppo

to allow the humanitarian supplies to come in from across the border from Turkey. They were also accused of not putting enough pressure on the

Syrians to do that and to provide the kind of licenses and letters of guarantees that they were looking for to ensure their safety.

The Russians, for their part, have all along accused the American side of not doing enough to uphold their part of the bargain as well to put

pressure on the rebel groups, particularly the moderate rebels, to separate themselves from the jihadists and to cease their attacks against Syrian

forces. I mean, the Russian defense ministry saying that in the past 24 hours D and this was some time ago (inaudible), but in the 24 hours up to

that report was issued, there were 55 attacks by rebel groups on Syrian government forces. And so there was already, you know, a lot of sides, a

lot of barbs aimed at each other from the Russians and the Americans.

This airstrike in Deir ez-Zor has only added to that sense of resentment and of course it's further undermined the trust with those barbed comments

being made by both sides at the United Nations security council last night as well.

And of course it's lead to a much broader diplomatic crisis between these two countries.

ANDERSON: Matthew is in Moscow, Fred tonight in Damascus. To both of you, thank you.

And we're going to get back to Damascus in about 10 minutes time when I'll be joined by Wusainia Shaban (ph) who is a senior adviser to Syria's

president Bashar al-Assad. You can see them both highlighted here. I'll ask her about Syria's alleged bombing of civilians and whether Mr. Assad is

the only one calling the shots in Syria.

You won't want to miss that. Stay with us over this next hour.

Well, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling an explosion that wounded 29 people an act of terrorism, but he says there is no indication

international terrorists are to blame. He spoke a short time ago after touring the site of the explosion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: We will find who planted these explosives and they will be punished. Number two, we will not allow these type of

people and these type of threat to disrupt our life in New York. That's what they want to do. We're not going to let them do it. This is freedom.

This is democracy. And we're not going to allow them to take that from us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Governor Cuomo says all 29 victims wounded in Saturday's explosion have been released from hospital. Hundreds of extra police and

security officers have been deployed in New York as a precaution.

Let's get the latest now from the scene of the explosion. Our correspondent Jessica Schneider has more. And I say you've got more, I

guess the question is this: what more do we know about who was behind this and why?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, Becky, Governor Cuomo actually spent about an hour surveying the damage. And from his

comment, we got a bit more information. He said that the property damage here from this explosion is significant. The damage is actually just down

23rd Street at 6th Avenue. He says the buildings are in very rough shape. And because of that, it's quite miraculous and unbelievable that people D

more people weren't injured and then the 29 people who were injured weren't more significantly injured.

Of course, no one was killed in this, and all 29 people have been released from the hospital.

Now, there are two important takeaways from Governor Cuomo's press conference. First of all, he said that there is no connect at this point

that they're aware of to international terrorism. That was clarifying the remarks that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio made last night when he

said there was no link to terrorism in general.

But of course Andrew Cuomo, the governor, saying that this, by definition, a bombing is in fact terrorism, but no known link internationally yet.

Also, of importance as well is that this investigation is now focused on forensics. The explosive device that was D that went off just down the

street here as well as a second device, the pressure cooker that did not go off, those have both been taken to the Quantico labs, the FBI labs down in

Virginia. Those are now being analyzed and it will be determined exactly what kind of device was right here on West 23rd Street and may shed more

light into this investigation.

Importantly, there was an explosion about 12 hours before this one, in Seaside Park, New Jersey, that's about two to two-and-a-half hours south of

here along the Jersey Shore, that explosion was one of three pipe bombs that were put into garbage cans. They were put along the route for the

Marine Corps charity run that was happening Saturday morning.

Governor Cuomo saying today at his press conference, it does not appear right now that that bombing was in any way linked to this one. But of

course we're still in the early stages of the investigation.

New York Governor Cuomo is working closely with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. They're also working with the joint terrorism task force.

So, a lot unfolding here, but, you know, the takeaway from this is that Governor Cuomo says it is incredible when he looked at that structural

damage just down the street that more people weren't injured and more people weren't severely injured D Becky.

ANDERSON: And, Jessica, let me just bring up the map of exactly where you are in New York. Some of our viewers may be familiar, others won't be.

And just describe the area and how busy it would have been or not at that time of night.

SCHNEIDER: Yeah, you know, this is just a little bit south of Midtown Manhattan. We're just about 20 blocks south of Times Square. This is a

very big hotspot on Saturday nights. A lot of restaurants, a lot of bars, a lot of clubs in this neighborhood. In fact, Jay-Z's 40-40 Club is about

a block from here.

So, this was a packed area on Saturday nights. This hit at 8:30 at night as well. So, you know D and a very, very populated area as well, a lot of

people living around here. Chelsea has grown in popularity in recent years as to people D it's become a hotspot for activity in the rental market.

You know, just also to give you a little bit of an idea, we're pretty far away from where the World Trade Center is. That's way downtown. We're

more midtown. And also, you know, the UN general assembly is happening this coming week. That, however, is pretty much on the other side of town,

that's on the east side of town.

So that gives people a little bit of a feel, but for sure this area is very populated, as any area in Manhattan really is.

But a lot of people out on a Saturday night. And like Goveror Cuomo said, incredible given the number of people in this area that more people weren't

injured and it wasn't a lot worse.

[11:15:27] ANDERSON: Thankfully. All right, Jessica, thank you.

Well, more from the scene, then, as victims sought help just after the blast. We warn you, that this video may be disturbing for some of you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My eye. I donOt know what happened to my eye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, come with me. Come with me. Come with me. I'm holding you, OK. Come with me. You're OK. Nothing is going to happen.

OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My eye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing is going to happen to you. Come on. There's the ambulance. Right here. I got you. I got you. You don't have hardly

nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's wrong with my eye?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One injured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard the explosion. And I fell and hurt my eye.

What does my eye look like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's OK. You're OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you sure?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My eye is--

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our friend is around here somewhere. We don't know where she is.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One second, ladies. One second, ladies. We've got some stuff going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a bomb. You heard?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But our friend is around here somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, you have minor injuries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I know. But we're looking for--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Just a flavor of what happened last night in New York. And more on that, of course, as we get it. The latest world news headlines are just

ahead.

Plus, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both been reacting to that New York City explosion. Their critics and supporters weigh in. We're taking

a very short break. Before we do, though, first back to Syria where amid so much violence, turbulence, its president is still in power. Next up,

I'll be joined by one of his senior advisers to ask just what is his thinking now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:20:38] ANDERSON: Right. You're with CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. 20 minutes past 7:00 here in Abu Dhabi as reports

of an explosion in New York righted around the internet on Saturday. One presidential candidate was quicked away at a rally in Colorado. Donald

Trump said the explosion was caused by a bomb.

He made the remark before local officials confirmed any details, but his opponent waited. And Hillary Clinton told reporters it's wise to check

facts before reacting to violence.

Running mate says when it comes to terror, the key is to be smart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM KAINE, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't know too much more. The New York police and the New York mayor releasing information as

they go. But, look, it just raises the stakes on the need to be really, really smart in dealing with challenges like this both with the law

enforcement community, but also to make sure we're doing what we can to stop any lone wolf attacks in the United States.

Hillary and I both believe that, you know, she was the senator from New York on 9/11 and was there when people D when they were still looking for

survivors and that seared into her memory. She was part of the national security team that helped restart this hunt for bin Laden.

We know the threat that's out there. And we have a plan to deal with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: One Trump supporter defended the Republican's snap judgment. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke earlier with my colleague Jake

Tapper. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I don't think you have to defer when saying that there was an explosion and a bomb in New York. I mean,

everybody knew that. It was being reported on television, Jake. So, there's a difference.

Now, you shouldn't attribute it to any particular organization or group if you don't have the facts, or information to do that, but I think that what

Donald did was perfectly appropriate to tell that group at Colorado Springs that a bomb exploded.

And, listen, this is typical Mrs. Clinton. She has absolutely no basis to be critical of what he did yesterday, but since her campaign is only based

upon that, that's the only, you know, issue she could go to. And it's a shame, but it's because of her type of leadership over the last eight

years, along with the president, that the world is a much more dangerous place.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Just as an issue of fact checking, I think when Donald Trump said it was bomb, and obviously that was proven correct, but I

think at the moment he said that at the time all that was being reported was that there had been an explosion and officials were trying to figure

out what was going on.

CHRISTIE: Jake, I think we all understand that when an explosion like that happens in the middle of Manhattan, that the overwhelming likelihood is

that it's a bomb, and especially when you had the Seaside Heights incident earlier, even though right now we don't have any information that connects

the two, as I said earlier, we're obviously very suspicious of what's going on here.

So, no, listen I think what Donald did was perfectly appropriate. And I think Mrs. Clinton's criticism is typical of her, a campaign where she has

a history of having gotten things wrong, and then she criticized Donald Trump for getting it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, that was Chris Christie speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper.

Hillary Clinton spent Saturday evening in Washington where she and President Barack Obama were featured guests at a gala. Mr. Obama, who took

a bow with his wife delivered an impassioned speech urging African-American voters not to turn their backs on Clinton.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny was there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: President Obama delivering a rallying cry to black voters during a speech Saturday night in

Washington in some of the strongest language he has used yet, acknowledging that he's not on the ballot but his legacy is. He delivered a blistering

attack against Donald Trump and said it would be a personal insult to his legacy if Donald Trump was elected.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot! Tolerance is on the

ballot! Democracy is on the ballot!

And after we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an

insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election. You want to give me a good send-off? Go

vote.

ZELENY: The president has often criticized Donald Trump but not in these strong of terms. He also said that Trump is simply wrong about the history

of the country. He talked about his birth certificate, but he also talked about more and said that black voters in particular need to rally to

Hillary Clinton's side.

For her part Hillary Clinton also on stage at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner. She came to the president's aid, talking about

his birth certificate.

[11:25:26] HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Even when hateful nonsense is thrown their way, Barack, Michelle, their two beautiful

daughters have represented our country with class, grace, and integrity. Mr. President, not only do we know you are an American, you're a great

American.

ZELENY: President Obama and Hillary Clinton talked backstage. There's no question that he is going to be one of the biggest components in her final

election strategy here in the next 50 days. He made that indicate clear to black voters, and he is going to go across the country campaigning for the

month of October.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, Egypt has opened its doors to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. We're going to take a very short break, but

after that we'll take a look at how one mother is trying to bring a taste of home to Cairo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[11:31:22] ANDERSON: And right now, Russians casting their ballots in parliamentary elections. Polls scheduled to close in about an hour-and-a-

half, more parties participating after allegations of fraud and rigging five years ago. But candidates backed by the Kremlin are still expected to

win and win big.

Matthew Chance has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the Kremlin-backed channel where most Russians get their news and views. And for the first

time in years, one of the country's main opposition figures is a guest.

Mikhail Kasyanov was invited to debate upcoming parliamentary elections and to have an American flag planted in front of him by a pro-Kremlin

candidate, reminding millions of viewers who Russia's opposition is accused of defending.

But even this exposure on state television is an opportunity.

MIKHAIL KASYANOV, LEADER, PARNAS PARTY: It's angering some people, but others started to waking up. They wake up and saying just it's possible D

even though the situation, when everything seems to be under total control of Putin, but it's possible to appear on the first channel. And they

started thinking that something could be changed, or some think already it's already being changed in the country.

CHANCE: These are the scenes in 2011 after the last parliamentary elections in Russia amid allegations of rigged voting, crowds gathered in

Moscow chanting down with Putin. Opposition activists say the Kremlin is desperate to avoid a repeat.

KASYONOV: The difference between this election process and the previous one, which was in 2011, the different is that for the first time opposition

party allowed to participate in elections. They think they should create some kind of picture that elections are free and fair in accordance with

international standards et cetera.

CHANCE: But that picture isn't complete. Opposition figures like Kasyanov have complained of threats and harassment. Here, he was recorded being

attacked with a pie in a restaurant. There's also been a secretly filmed sex tape posted online in what critics say was a bid to discredit and

humiliate him.

It gets more sinister, too. Here Kasyanov is shown with another opposition figure in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. The video was posted by the

head of the Chechen Republic in Russia. He said it was a joke.

But in a country where Kremlin critics are routinely murdered no one is laughing.

How concerned are you? How frightened are you that something could happen to you?

KASYANOV: These days in my country, unfortunately everyone should be scared. But (inaudible) authorities or other people. And me, too, I'm a

normal person. That's why I also scare D or I can expect something to happen with me and my family. But I have to continue this, I would say

(inaudible) job, which we already committed to do.

CHANCE: And like him, hundreds of opposition candidates across Russia are taking that risk, despite the threats standing in these Russian elections

for a slim chance their opposition voices will be heard.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Right. World Diplomats set to convene at the United Nations general assembly this week, including Russians of course. High on the

agenda, the refugee and migrant crisis, much of that, of course, a result of the war in Syria.

Now the conflict dominated the talks at the very same place a year ago. You may remember back then, U.S. President Obama singled out the Syrian

leader Bashar al-Assad, calling him a tyrant for dropping barrel bombs on his own people. But Russia, one of the main supporters of Syria's

president Assad was keen to keep the focus on ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a

terrorist, it's a terrorist right. I would recall that we always were saying that we are going to fight ISIL and other terrorist groups. This is

the same position which the Americans are taking. The representatives of the coalition command have always been saying that their targets are ISIL,

al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:36:03] ANDERSON: Well, a day after those comments this: Russia conducted its first airstrikes in Syria right after the UNGA wrapped up.

It says it targeted ISIS positions, but the U.S. had some serious doubts.

But a year later, the rhetoric sounds pretty much the same, but the situation on the ground even more complex.

The already delicate ceasefire hanging by a thread.

The U.S.-led coalition airstrike reportedly killed dozens of Syrian troops over the weekend, putting Russia and the U.S. at odds once again.

Russia called an emergency meeting at the UN, a move the U.S. is denouncing as a stunt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWER: This said, even by Russia's standards, tonight's stunt, a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding is uniquely cynical and

hypocritical.

(END VIDE OCLIP)

ANDERSON: Right, there's a lot to talk about, isn't there?

Let's speak to Bouthaina Shaaban . She is a senior adviser to Mr. Assad. Joining us live from Syria's capital Damascus. Bouthaina, thank you.

We are just getting word of airstrikes on Aleppo. Who is responsible for them. Do you know?

BOUTHAINA SHAABAN, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT ASSAD: I thought you were going to ask me about the killing of the Syrian soldiers in Deir ez-Zor

where the United States has shelled--

ANDERSON: I will do. I'm starting with this question first.

SHAABAN: --and killed tens of Syrian soldiers.

Sorry.

ANDERSON: Bouthaina, we will discuss that. But this is breaking news. So, I'd just like you to address this first. Who is responsible for the

airstrikes on Aleppo. Do you know?

SHAABAN: I don't know. I'm not a military person. I'm not in Aleppo. But what I know, what all government have been saying is that it is the

Syrian government who is adhering to the truce, and it is the terrorists whom you call in your report rebels D those are not rebels, they are

terrorists who are slaughtering the Syrian people in Aleppo and in all other towns and cities and villages.

You know, not only in Aleppo, but everywhere else.

I think the basic problem is that the west does not want to acknowledge that there's no difference between what they call moderate opposition and

the terrorists. They're all terrorists and they're all carrying on against civilians, against innocent civilians.

ANDERSON: Bouthaina D OK, Bouthaina, then you did ask me to ask you for reaction to what has been described by the U.S.-led coalition as mistaken

attacks against your troops. So, your response.

SHAABAN: Yeah, you know, the facts on the ground, Becky, shows that the airplanes of the coalition were more than one, they carried their attack

systematically and D in a good military way. And when they killed the Syrian soldiers, the terrorists, the Daesh terrorists came on the same

hill. It was a number of hills near Deir ez-Zor. And the Daesh terrorist came on these hills from the same area in which the planes were shelling

and occupied where the Syrian army was.

And once Daesh was there, the American planes stopped shelling. They did not stop shell Daesh. They only shelled the Syrian army.

ANDERSON: Bouthaina, it is complicated on the ground. That isnOt the story that we're hearing from the U.S.-led coalition, but they are saying

it was a mistaken attack.

Listen, one Russian official said that attack puts, and I quote, a very big question mark over the truce, the deal's future. Do the Syrian regime

agree is this truce, this ceasefire, in danger at this point?

SHAABAN: A very big question mark about the truce?

I'm sorry, I didnOt hear you properly.

[11:40:30] ANDERSON: I said do you believe that the ceasefire is over at this point?

SHAABAN: Well, you know, Becky, honestly, we should discuss things as they are. The problem why the ceasefire is in such a precarious situation is

that the United States really is not agreeing to real factual apparent terms with Russia. Russia said we agreed on many points. We should

publish these points. We should show the world what we have agreed upon and we should act upon them.

Now, I ask the United States if they truly mean to target terrorists, where is the problem in coordinating their efforts with Russia, with the Syrian

Arab Army, with anyone who is targeting terrorists.

Afterall, this is the target for all of us. So why prolonging the agony of the Syrian people and allowing the terrorists all this time and all this

space to slaughter our people.

ANDERSON: Bouthaina, I do need to get back to the original question I asked. And I hear what you're saying. And these are questions that we

will also put to the U.S. and the U.S.-led coalition, the original question we went into this interview with was who do you believe was behind the

breaking news this hour, which is airstrikes on Aleppo. It will, one assumes, need to have been the Syrians, the Russians or possibly the

Iranians.

Can you confirm that you have not been told at this point? Do you want to take a guess at who it is?

SHAABAN: You know, honestly, the line is not the clear, but I will answer what I understood from your question. The Syrians and the Iranians and the

Russians have been trying to cool the situation, to save civilians in Aleppo, to make all assistance reach all dangerous areas. If there are

some technical difficulties in delay one thing or another, I can see that nobody is mentioning that so many areas in Syria have been receiving

humanitarian assistance, and UN assistance in Bedani (ph) in Medaia (ph) in Supraya (ph) in Fohan (ph) in (inaudible) and many other places.

You know, Becky, the problem is that they take part of the issue and they focus on it or blow it up, forgetting all other parts, which make the full

picture for your respective audience.

ANDERSON: OK. I think we D you would agree that whether some aid or not is getting in, aid to some of the most important areas is still held up.

But I just want to push you on one other point, your government has always contended that the war is a Syrian matter for Syrians to sort out and that

Washington and others should quite frankly mind their own business.

But the Syrian government has flung open the doors to Russian and Iranian cash and weapons. And without them it's difficult to see how you would

still be in Damascus right now. They're not going to pack their bags and leave after this. So, and Syria D and the Syrian regime will owe them big-

time. What is the long-term plan for Syria with Iranian and Russian influence going forward?

SHAABAN: I'm sorry, Becky, honestly the line is so bad and I could only hear from you for Damascus what is the Russian and the Iranian interest in

Syria, or what are they doing in Syria.

ANDERSON: Influence going forward, yes. It's D what do you perceive to be the Russian and Iranian influence on Syria for the next five, 10, 15 years

D maybe 50 years?

SHAABAN: I think, you know, again I say that we D this should be the last question, because I'm not comfortable. I can't hear, because the line is

bad. But I would like to tell you that the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrians and all those who are fighting with the Syrian Arab Army do believe

that this terrorism that is now fed in Syria is extremely dangerous not only for Syria, but for Moscow and for Iran, and for all countries in the

world.

And we wish that the western world would join us in this belief because already terrorism is a striking so many European capitals. What we need,

Becky, is very simple, what we need is very simple, is an honest stand against terrorism and to put an end to all accusations, you know, to Syrian

regime and to other people and to join hands in fighting terrorism and in making Syria and the whole world a better place for all of us.

ANDERSON: Thank you for doing this interview. And apologies for the quality of the sound today, but we got a lot covered. So, thank you.

SHAABAN: I'm sorry about the line, yeah.

ANDERSON: Apologies viewers for the line as well. Thank you Bouthaina.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: For years, the war in Syria has been driving men, women and children from their homes as the world's top diplomats convene this week in

New York. The focus once again will be on the conflict and the humanitarian crisis that it is causing.

Well, Zaatari refugee camp in neighboring Jordan, those directly impacted have little hope of a summit or make progress in helping them get home.

Around 85,000 Syrians have found shelter at this one camp alone with little prospect of moving back or moving on any time soon.

Well another country shouldering the refugee burden in a big way is Turkey where the response has turned from temporary relief to integration in many

places.

I'm joined now by Kaan Terzioglu. He is the CEO of Turkcelc, which is the leading mobile phone carrier in the border region. And, sir, just explain

what your company is doing to help.

KAAN TERZIOGLU, TURKCELL CEO: Becky, we have about 3 million refugees now in Turkey and over the last three years we have been working very hard to

make sure that these people who have left from their homes are still connected to the ones left behind as well as connected to ones who have

moved on to other countires.

This is the biggest displacement of people in the history of mankind. And I believe that making sure that these people not only are welcomed, but now

is time to integrate these people so that they can have a livelihood for their own families and basically have jobs. And when the conditions are

right, if they want, they can go back.

Companies, when they do a bad job they lose customers. And countries, when they do a bad job, they are losing citizens. You know, we have tried very

hard to make sure that we have increased the coverage in the area to six times the usual times. We have established call centers supporting Arabic

customers. Out of these 3 million people, 1.2 million of them are our customers in Turkey. And we try to make sure that their lives are

facilitated the best way using the technology and making sure that they can access to all sorts of government services, all sorts of information about

how they can survive in a country that they have just moved in as well as utilize the latest technology to provide live translation services so that

they can communicate with the others.

I believe mobile technologies plays a very important role in making sure that their lives are facilitated and the quality of the life they have is

improved.

[11:50:51] ANDERSON: Sure. And we have seen the way that mobile technology has helped refugees whether they are living in Lebanon, Turkey,

Jordan or whether it's those who are trying to stay in touch with their families who may have moved on into other places like Europe.

You have experience in this field, of course, sir. And I know that this is something that you will discuss meetings with the private sector this week

in New York. Very briefly, just explain the sort of experience that you have?

TERZIOGLU: So, you know, these people have moved to our country not because they were poor, they moved to live a proper life as a human being.

And I think what's important is to make sure that their lives are facilitated in a way that they have future for their kids.

Can you imagine, there is about 500,000 kids in the primary school area. On one side it shows the magnitude of the challenge, but it's also a

treasure. Many countries in Europe doesn't have that many kids overall. And we have to make sure that by using the technology, we either create

engineers, scientists, astronauts from them, or else let them suffer and express their anger in different forms.

I think this is a huge challenge for Turkey and also for the world at large and we need to make sure that we address that challenge with the best

technologies we can.

ANDERSON: Kaan is in New York for you at what are some serious meetings this week about the refugee issue. And, sir, we really do thank you for

joining us today on CNN.

Well, a group of Syrian refugees in Egypt making themselves more at home and turning a profit. Ian Lee on their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The secret to good Syrian cuisine is care and variety, said according to Lena Cassa (ph) a bit of a top chef. Her family

encouraged her to share her culinary prowess. Her chance came unexpectedly.

"We left Syria because our house was destroyed. And there was no school for my children," says the mother of three.

Lena (ph) landed in a kitchen in Cairo along with six other Syrian refugee women. Their catering service is called Zeit Zeit Toon (ph) D Olive oil in

Arabic.

Now, wafting aromas of home fill this community center. On the menu, classical Syrian dishes like stuffed grape leaves, kibbeh and Sambousek.

The women don't always see eye to eye over recipes, but consistency is key.

Pomegranate is a crucial signature ingredient in Syrian food. It gives it that perfect combination of sweet and sour. It also gives the food its

darker color.

The end result: delicious. But it goes deeper than that.

"When we cook, we bring the memories of the mothers and grandmothers to every boy, girl and family who tastes our food and we continue the legacy,"

she says.

Tamara El Rafai (ph) founded zeit zetoun (ph). She, too, is Syrian, but a long-time Cairo resident. She turned her love of cooking into a passion of

helping others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always thought that you don't truly empower people unless you give them a source of income. It gives people back some of

their dignity. It makes people less insecure about saying they're refugees.

LEE: Egypt is home to roughly 115,000 Syrian refugees. Cairo's Little Damascus also offers flavors of home, even specific, like Aleppo style

chicken. Typically, only men work in these restaurants, but Zeit zetoun (ph) is special in that it only hires women.

"We have families working with us here that don't have a male bread winner. The women depend on themselves to support their families," she says.

If Zeit zetoun (ph) succeeds, more women will be hired. But success won't only be measured in just food and money.

[11:55:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cuisine, the kitchen, the love of food and the centrality of food and any Syrian homes is extremely important for

us now when we feel that everything else is dividing us.

LEE: Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. Coming up, it's all about the footie. I'll tell you what I mean up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, ISIS is claiming responsibility for a stabbing attack at a U.S. mall that wounded eight people. That incident occurred Saturday in

the state of Minnesota. And local authorities say an officer was D shot the attacker dead.

ISIS media now say he was a, and I quote, soldier of the Islamic State.

CNN has no way to independently confirm the claim. ISIS has claimed responsibility for several lone wolf attacks in Europe, of course.

Well, in today's Parting Shots, how sport can unite.

These are some refugee kids on their way to a football tournament on the island of Lesbos. The Greek island became a crisis hotspot with many

thousands of refugees, many Syrians landing there after crossing from Turkey.

Now, organizers of festival (ph), which finished today say it was big success with hundreds of kids taking part.

I'm Becky Andreson, that was Connect the World on a lighter note as it were. Thank you for watching.

END