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Aleppo: "Complete Meltdown of Humanity;" The Lessons From Colombia's Historic Peace Process; Colombian President on Voters Rejection of Peace Deal; East Aleppo Says Goodbye. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired December 13, 2016 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:13] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, summary executions in the final battle for Aleppo says the U.N. calling it, quote, "A complete
meltdown of humanity."
U.N. senior adviser on Syria Jan Egeland joins the program.
Also, a lesson for Syria. Nobel Peace Prize winner and President Santos of Colombia on making peace after more than 50 years of war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT: Some years ago, everybody thought impossible to have an agreement, but now we have proved that it is possible
when there is will, when there is perseverance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Hell has descended on the last hold outs in Eastern Aleppo according to terror fight civilians appealing to the world to save their lives. After
U.N. reports of mass summary executions by regime forces and their allies, activists and journalist trapped inside tells CNN that rebels are
announcing a deal for safe passage for civilians. We will, of course, monitor that.
The regime moved overnight on the city's last remaining opposition strongholds. As we said earlier, a complete meltdown of humanity is how
the U.N. puts it. Residents started posting goodbye message on social media as thousands of other civilians made into regime-held areas, there
are reports of dead bodies piling up in the streets, families too scared to retrieve relatives for burial.
Just as Russia has used its military power to prop up Assad's brutality, it has used its diplomatic power to deadlock the U.N. Security Council, which
was the setting for another fiery emergency session just moments ago as America's ambassador addressed Russia, Syria and Iran directly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, U.N. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Are you truly incapable of shame. Is there literally nothing that can shame you? Is there no act of
barbarism against civilians? No execution of a child that gets under your skin. That just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing you will
not lie about?
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): In particular, what I find very strange was the statement by the U.S.
representative who built her statement as if she was Mother Theresa. Now please remember what country you are representing. Remember your own
country's track record, and then, and then you can start opining from the position of any moral supremacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So amid a war of rhetoric, we also know that civilians' lives are in dire, dire danger right now. In a short while ago, I manage to
reach Dr. Hamza Al-Khatib. He's an emergency doctor and he's the director Al Quds Hospital. We've spoke to him before here. His latest from there.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Hamza, welcome back to the program. These are terrible, terrible moments. We're hearing anguish please from people still trap in
Eastern Aleppo. Can you just describe for me what's going on and how you're holding out?
DR. HAMZA AL-KHATIB, DIRECTOR OF AL-QUDS HOSPITAL: Actually, a lot of neighborhoods has fallen down and now it's under their regime control. So
now all we have left is six neighborhoods. We are really afraid that all of us, maybe arrested or killed.
Actually, most of the people are wishing that they maybe killed due to the shelling rather than being arrested and got shot in Assad precedence.
AMANPOUR: So we have also been told that certain fighters are getting text messages to say that there is a truce and there is an evacuation being
Have you got any first time evidence of that?
AL-KHATIB: We're not taking that seriously because in the last couple of weeks, we heard about patients and injuries evacuation. We heard about
patrols, we heard about civilians' evacuation and nothing of that has happened. so we are waiting to see a real action that there is an
evacuation for the activist, for the civilians and for the group.
AMANPOUR: We have heard from one of the teachers we contracted just like you in the last week, he said there are bodies everywhere. Oh, you will
find bodies everywhere. We are in massive need of a ceasefire and Aleppo is dying, he told us.
Do you know whether there have been executions? The U.N. and others have been saying, the forces coming in have gone door-to-door and there
executions and bodies in the streets and in homes.
[14:05:00] AL-KHATIB: Actually, that's very accurate. In the besieged part of the city, where I still consult the area, there are also a lot of
bodies. People are scared to go out in the street out of dead bodies haven't been taken to grave, to be buried in a graveyard.
In the west side of Aleppo, even the east side of Aleppo where the regime are taking control over there, a lot of the execution had been permitted.
We have heard (INAUDIBLE) about 20 person in the morning and another 17 in the evening and there was woman and children among them.
We have heard that civilians who are hiding in health center called Al- Hayat (ph), because it's a basement. They were taking cover from shelling and the airstrikes.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Hamza, are you telling me that you've heard the regime has killed dozens of children, who were seeking shelter in a basement?
AL-KHATIB: Yes, yes, that's happened yesterday in Al-Klasa (ph) and there are almost two of our deaths from people who are still there.
We know that there are certain families here that know that they are against the regime, in our areas, so the regime has made a lot of execution
by the ID only. That children, or that child, or that woman or man is from a certain family so that's sentence.
AMANPOUR: Wow. I mean, you paint, really, really a horrible picture. Are you going to be safe and your family? Are you going to -- how are you
going to survive this?
AL-KHATIB: Actually, we are trying our best to be still alive. Mostly we don't move around a lot because of the shelling. Mostly, we stay in the
basement of the hospital. As I mentioned, they are speaking about evacuation for us, for the doctors and the medical staff and civilians and
also for the fighters. It's not -- as I've said, it's not the happy ending. Of course, a lot of people had been killed here.
A lot of people, a lot of houses had been destroyed and now we have to leave that all behind us. We maybe safe out of Aleppo but, we have lost
everything. We have lost our city. We have lost our right to leave in dignity in our hometown.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Hamza, thank you so much for giving us the latest and we are really thinking of you.
AMANPOUR: Tonight, I want to go to Oslo to the U.N. senior adviser on Syria and secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland.
Thank you for joining us.
Again, we've been taking to you regularly as this offensive has gain strength.
What do you make now of the idea of a ceasefire? Do you have any details?
JAN EGELAND, U.N. SENIOR ADVISER IN SYRIA: What I know is what you've reported. There seems to be an agreement between the armed opposition
groups still in that last little corner held by opposition groups and the Syrian army, the Russian army leadership there. What we hope is that this
will lead to a safe exit of the civilian population in this remaining zone as it may also lead to a safe passage for ex-fighters out of the region,
but nothing is secured.
Too many times, we've been disappointed. Earlier when we thought there was an evacuation and something went wrong.
AMANPOUR: You just heard a really grim, horrifying picture painted by Dr. Hamza. And he's been there for a long time and he's been a very credible
The idea of children being executed, people being executed based on IDs that identify them as anti-government families or whatever they are.
What kind of evidence and credibility do you put into these reports of mass executions?
[14:10:00] EGELAND: Well, these harrowing reports starting to come in a steady stream from last evening through the night and through this day
really. And they are pretty consistent of, you know, killings, of arbitrary arrest but we cannot verify it because we're not there, you know.
We haven't been given access as United Nations. I believe the colleagues from the Red Cross and Red Crescent have not been able to go there yet.
So there will be an hour in my view of investigation of accounting for this, those who are responsible for this and not only those who pull the
trigger but also those who command this whole operation.
But, today, we need to care for the wounded. We need to get civilians out. We need to protect of all those who have now shifted hands in terms of who
control them and all of that is a tremendous job. There are hundreds of thousands of people in need only in the Aleppo region and then millions in
a wider circle.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you specifically to address what the Russian ambassador to the U.N. has been saying. You saw that fiery exchange
between the U.S. and Russian ambassadors. The Russian ambassador during his speech mentioned you specifically.
He said he received signals from Eastern Aleppo of cases of ill-treatment by government forces against civilians and he says that he received, you
know, from you these signals. And he said the Russian authorities there began immediate investigations into such accusations and today Russian
officials visited those what you called liberated regions, spoke to commander and civilians and he says not a single fact of ill treatment or
violation of international and humanitarian law against civilians in East Aleppo was discovered.
Is that a credible scenario to you?
EGELAND: While it is true that I sent these reports as they were coming in last night both with the civilians and military authorities in Russia, and
I would simply say we need independent investigation. No, I mean, just as much as they do not believe what the opposition is saying or what is
happening in East Aleppo, how can we believe what an armed actor at the scene is doing?
There has to be third party real investigation on what has happened. Those, who needs now, to be, you know, protection of life for the days and
weeks to come, hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people live now in this area and those who are being evacuated should have a free choice. Either
to go to government-controlled areas or to go to opposition-controlled Idlib. It's the golden principle that we always have to have running to
re-evacuation and that means they have to have a choice including your good doctor there. He should have a choice of where to be evacuated.
AMANPOUR: Well, let see whether your voice, the secretary general's voice, the voices of all the international community have an effect and create
some kind of ceasefire for safe passage.
Jan Egeland, thank you very much for joining us from Oslo.
AMANPOUR: And from the unmitigated horrors as we've been hearing of Aleppo's fall to one man who managed to forge peace in the fire of
Colombia's 52 year conflict. With the FARC, the Marxist guerrillas, the Colombian president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos joins
[14:15:30] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Colombia is giving peace another chance. After the voters rejected the government's historic peace deal with FARC rebels in October by a tiny
margin, just 0.4 percent, the Congress approved a revise agreement and President Juan Manuel Santos won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his
efforts to end the continent's longest war. It had lasted 52 years.
Indeed, Latin America is now a war-free continent. Accepting the award, Santos called the deal a ray of hope for places like Syria and other war
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTOS (through translator): It proves that what at first seems impossible, through perseverance may become possible even in Syria, or
Yemen or South Sudan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now that he has ended the war, President Santos is in a race with time to win the peace in Colombia as he explained when he joined me
from Madrid earlier today.
AMANPOUR: President Santos, welcome to the program.
SANTOS: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: Well, first, congratulations on the Nobel and especially the Peace Accord. But can I ask you in light of what's happening in Syria and
the fall of Aleppo, what are the lessons do you believe that what's been achieve in Colombia could be extrapolated to Syria and elsewhere?
SANTOS: Well, it's difficult because each conflict has its own conditions. But I would say that in the case of Colombia, some years ago everybody
thought impossible to have an agreement. But now we have proved that it is possible. When there is will, when there is perseverance, and when one
tries to set up the correct conditions for a successful peace agreement. I think those are the sort of basic lessons.
AMANPOUR: And President Santos, you had to actually deal with the enemy so to speak. And that has created a huge amount of controversy and distrust
among your political opponent.
How do you make sure you create enough facts on the ground, passing all these elements if you like so that this peace does actually take hold
before political opponents can try to shred it?
SANTOS: My normal friends, many of them are very worried or skeptic about me sitting down with my former enemies. But I try to explain to them, you
don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.
I hope I can achieve, I can pass through Congress all the reforms and all the laws that are necessary to implement the agreement. Fortunately, we
have a big majority in Congress. This agreement was voted by the Senate and the House with a 77 percent majority. And I hope that when we table,
when we present the specific reforms that are necessary to implement the agreement that they would be approve because we have also learn that it is
very important to shorten the time between the moment you sign an agreement and the moment you implement it.
AMANPOUR: Now you obviously came across a lot of opposition and you face a surprise defeat in the referendum. It was really close to vote, but the
majority of the people didn't actually come out to vote. They stayed home. And you have always promise that the people of Colombia will have the final
You got your renegotiated deal pass through Congress and not by the people. Tell me how you're going to get away with that so to speak.
SANTOS: Well, the vote as you very well say was 50-50 and the majority of the people did not vote. That same day, we had Hurricane Matthew that hit
the north of Colombia when it was in its highest intensity, level five. And close to four to five million votes were lost.
What did I do after the plebiscite, I summoned all the promoters of the "no" vote. I sat with them. I said what is it that you do not agree with?
What is it that you don't like about the agreement? Let's see and we can change it. We included in the agreement with the FARC the great majority
of the suggestions, proposals of the "no" vote.
So the different sectors that had voted no started to say now we support this agreement. The Catholic church, the Christian churches, the land
owners, businessman, people who had voted no are now supporting this whole agreement and I say this was a kind of blessing in disguise because we are
now fortunately in a better position that we were before the plebiscite.
AMANPOUR: One of the things, obviously, the "no" people say is that hang on a minute, there is no accountability, no jail time for FARC members, for
many who, you know, committed atrocities.
Tell me how you manage to convince victims or those who are leading the no campaign that this is necessary for peace.
SANTOS: Well, first of all, many of the "no" people are now yes. They are a sector, the extreme right, which I would not label them as no. I will
label them as never. They will never accept a peace agreement for many reasons.
And the victims, the victims had been the most generous, have been marvellous because it's in their interest, they are the center of the
solution of this problem. They are right. Their right to justice, to reparations, to the truth and the non-repetition is the nutshell of the
And they have been probably the most important support that I have had during these six years.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you how you react to this particular appeal from one of the people who turn out in Congress before you got your "yes" vote.
This is from Richard Moreno who was an activist, from the poorest and most violent-scarred department of the country. He, apparently said, "History
will remember you." He said this to congress. "For being willing to let us continue exchanging led for 52 more years. Many of you who want the
conflict to carry on, your kids don't serve in the army. They are not recruited by the guerrillas. When things get tough, they get sent abroad."
As pretty powerful stuff that he's telling and challenging the "no" camp with.
SANTOS: Well, those words were addressed to the, what I called today, the never vote, and they are true. Some people don't care clearly that we
continue with these wars, 52 years of war. The country would be better off. This is, in my view, crazy. So I endorse those words that you just
quoted and this is the expression of many, many people especially the people who have lived and suffered the conflict.
AMANPOUR: President Santos, thank you so much for joining me from Madrid today.
SANTOS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And a note happening right now about the Syria war. Several hundred Londoners are gathering outside Downing Street as we speak in a
solidarity march with the people of Aleppo.
When we come back, we return to the rapidly shrinking rebel held Eastern Aleppo to imagine terrified civilians making one last appeal to the world.
This time, they are not just begging for help and compassion. They are saying goodbye.
[14:30:42] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, Aleppo is dying, one terrified resident told us. Now imagine Aleppo saying goodbye.
The people we've met there this past week during the massive offensive to retake the city warned us what might happen to them. Now the U.N. says
horrific atrocities are being committed. Those still trap inside are reaching through the Internet to say farewell and tonight we give them the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no place now to go. It's the last place. I hope we can speak to Periscope again. At least we know that we were free
people. We wanted freedom. We didn't want anything else but freedom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This may be my last video. More than 50,000 of civilians who rebelled against the dictator, al-Assad, are threatened with
field executions, or dying under bombing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING THROUGH FOREIGN LANGUAGE)