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Russia, Turkey Announce Syrian Cease-fire Agreement; Remembering Debbie Reynolds; U.S. Secretary of State Delivers Strong Rebuke to Israeli Settlements; Kim Jong-un's Brutal Reign

Aired December 29, 2016 - 08:00:00   ET

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


[08:00:15] KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And we are tracking breaking news on the conflict in Syria.

Now, Russia's president says the Syrian government and the opposition are prepared to lay down their weapons and enter peace talks before the end of

the year. And he says that he is ready to scale back Russia's military presence there.

Now, Turkey is backing the deal. Its ministry of foreign affairs says Syria may be on the brink of a political transition.

Of course, this is not the first time in this long-running conflict that we've seen a cease-fire announced.

Now, let's bring in our Muhammad Lila from Istanbul with more. And, first, Muhammad, could you lay out just the details of this truce deal?

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure.

Well, Kristie, the details we've been piecing together come from the announcements made by both Russia, Syria, and Turkey, of course, which are

the major players in this. The cease-fire is set to begin at midnight tonight. And this is key, Kristie. It's set to take place across the

entire country.

There have been cease-fire attempts in the past. For example, we've been talking about the cease-fire specifically in Aleppo for the last few weeks.

This is the first time we've seen a cease-fire attempt take place across the entire country.

Of course, the question becomes, well, what about all the different rebel groups on the ground that are fighting against the Syrian government.

Well, we have some clarity with that, too, as well. We know that ISIS and a group called Jubhat al-Nusra, or sometimes call Jubhat Fatah al-Shaam

(ph). They're basically an al Qaeda affiliate, those groups will not be covered under the cease-fire, meaning that those groups can still be

targeted by Russia, Turkey, and the Syrian armed forces.

But all of the other groups will be included, meaning they are expected to lay down their weapons and stop fighting, and the regime is expected to

stop fighting them in return.

LU STOUT: So this is very significant, as you pointed out. It's a nationwide cease-fire for

Syria. It was officially confirmed just over an hour ago by Vladimir Putin. And we know that Russia and Turkey, Iran, as well as the opposition

parties mentioned, they've all been involved in this process.

And we also know that Turkey and Russia have been on opposite sides in this conflict in Syria. So how are they able to put differences aside and come

together for this cease-fire deal?

LILA: Well, this is partly what makes the cease-fire deal so stunning. a year ago this wouldn't have happened. Russia and Turkey were at odds. A

Russian jet was shot down by Turkish forces. And there's a high degree of hostility between them. They've been on the opposite sides of this battle

almost since it began in 2011.

What has happened over the last several weeks and months is we've seen Russia and Turkey

become very close together, their policies have become more aligned. We've seen a high level of communication between Vladimir Putin and Turkey's

President erdogan. They've spoken on the phone several times. In fact, we've been talking about this cease-fire and the

evacuation in Aleppo. That all happened, that all took place because it was brokered by Russia and by Turkey.

So it seems now that they are fully on the same page, and the important development in this is there's been a long discussion about who the

moderate rebels and who the radical rebels are. You know, Russia has basically said anyone that was fighting the Syrian government were

terrorists. Well, what we're seeing with this agreement now is that there's been an agreement on who the moderate rebels are, and those will be

covered under the cease-fire, meaning there won't be any fighting between the government and them versus the hardcore jihadi militants, like al Qaeda

and ISIS which will now be potentially targeted by all sides -- Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Syria.

LU STOUT: And Muhammad, and any cease-fire deal for Syria is a fragile one, and especially this one of such scope and scale. How will Turkey,

along with Iran and Russia, monitor and guarantee it?

LILA: Well, the first question with any cease-fire is what can Russia and Turkey do to stop all the different groups on the grounds from taking

measures into their own hands and violating the cease fire. Well, we understand based on the Russian announcement that one of the agreements

that's been signed is a mechanism that's been put in place to account for these groups

that might decide to break the cease-fire unilaterally.

Specifically, that they may face joint consequences from Russia and Turkey together and possibly Iran. So, that's an important step because it

provides a mechanism to ensure on the ground that these groups won't take matters into their own hands, and if they even think about doing that,

there would be strong reprisal.

So, again, Turkey and Russia both are saying that they will be the guarantors of this ceasefire on the ground to make sure that it holds.

ANDERSON: And if this truce holds, what will it mean for the fate and future of ashar al-Assad?

LILA: Yeah, well, you know, since the beginning Bashar al-Assad has refused to step down. He says he's been the elected leader of Syria and he

would only step down if the Syrian people want him to.

This is one of the questions that we don't know yet. Because for many years, Turkey's position has been very strong that they wouldn't negotiate

with Assad, they wouldn't enter peace talks with him, and their goal in this was for Assad to step down.

Now, what we don't know is whether that would happen, what that time line would be, whether there might be some sort of provisional or transitional

government that might take place. I think these details are going to be ironed out in the upcoming peace talks in Astana (ph) where we understand,

Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria will all be present to hammer out some of these details.

So the fate of Assad is still very much up in the air.

[08:05:36] ANDERSON: Muhammed Lila reporting on this breaking news story and development for us live from Istanbul. Thank you for that, Muhammad,

take care.

Now, U.s. officials say that Washington is to announce new sanctions against Russia at any time. American intelligence says it believes

Russian hackers were used to create confusion during the U.S. election and to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. Russia says the

accusations are lies and says it will respond to whatever hostile steps the U.S. government takes.

Now, German authorities believe an automatic braking system may have helped save lives during an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. 12 people

were killed and dozens wounded when the attacker, Anis Amri, drove a truck through the busy market, but according to an investigation by German media

outlets, the truck's automatic brakes kicked in when they sensed an impact and brought the vehicle to a halt.

Now, Amri was later killed in a shootout with Italian police. But German authorities have detained a Tunisian man who they say have possible ties to

him.

Now, Chris Burns joins us from Berlin with the latest developments. And, Chris, new lines from the investigation about the attacker, about his

accomplice, and the vehicle that was used, what's the latest?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Kristie. Yes, that investigation does take a look at this second person who's been arrested,

this Tunisian man, 40 years old. They're trying to see what kind of connections he had with Anis Amri. They found him because his phone

number was in the cell phone in the truck that crashed through this market on Tuesday last week killing a dozen people and injuring more than 50.

About the truck itself, it belongs -- it is made by Skania, it's a Swedish company. And we talked with Skania. They say it has a black box and it

has an -- sort of a governor on the speed. If it has a collision, there is an automatic braking system.

Now, that can be overridden by the driver. And this is where they will find out through the black box that has been handed over to police here,

police investigators, and this is what we hope to find out from them. But so far we don't have any further information on that. We do hope to have

more information at the top of the hour during a press conference by police investigators, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, we'll be looking forward to that.

And Chris, reports out there that the attacker was a failed asylum seeker. That's been sparking backlash, new backlash against refugees in Germany.

What have you seen?

BURNS: Yes, Kristie, we visited a refugee shelter that was run by a church last night. And we saw a number of refugees there who are asking for

asylum, who are worried that they might be sent back. We talked to an Iranian man who said if he's sent back, he was beaten over there for

proselytizing if he goes back, it's a death sentence, he said.

The other was an Afghan man that we talked to as well among the group. And he said that if he is sent back, it would also be very, very dangerous for

him. His uncle had tried -- had sold him to the Taliban to be a suicide bomber. And he left the country so he could escape from the Taliban. He

said that what happened here in this Christmas market by Anis Amri, that Tunisian, should not be generalized to all the refugees. You shouldn't

paint all refugees with the same brush, he said, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Absolutely. But just the political lay of the land, we have Angela Merkel under increasing pressure for her liberal immigration policy.

Are some migrants and refugees giving up hope that they'll be allowed to stay in Germany?

BURNS: Well, the ones we talked to still have hope. And they are, of course, being supported by this church, among other groups, NGOs and so

there is hope. We also talked to an immigration lawyer who said, yes, it's going to be more difficult, but he still has hope for his clients.

We do see a new poll that has come out. It has sort of -- it cuts two ways. One is that about two-thirds of those polled here in Germany believe

that there should be limits on the number of asylum seekers and refugees allowed to stay in Germany.

On the other hand, Angela Merkel has gained in this poll from 50 to 52 percent, and her party and her party group CDU/CSU (ph) has also gained two

points. So, that is also interesting that the support remains for Angela Merkel, but the pressure is on for her to

show results as far as the investigation and also about -- in maintaining control, there has been another incident this week by a group of youth

asylum seekers, mainly Syrians, who set a homeless man on fire. That, of course, is not going to help the situation either.

[08:10:32] LU STOUT: Not at all.

And Chris Burns reporting live for us from Berlin. Thank you for your reporting.

Now, just two days after the Japanese prime minister paid respects on that historic visit to Pearl Harbor, his defense minister showed up at a Tokyo

site that honors Japan's war dead. The Yasukuni shrine commemorates Japanese who lost their lives in wars, among them several leaders executed

for war crimes.

China and South Korea view the shrine as a reminder of Japan's war time atrocities.

The Chinese foreign ministry says this, quote, "this is another reflection of certain Japanese people's bigoted and wrong perception of history. It

is also an irony of Japan's so-called tour of reconciliation to the Pearl Harbor," end quote.

Now, South Korean definise ministry calls the visit deplorable and expresses deep concern and regret.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come, ruling by fear. Now, a new report shows us just how ruthless Kim Jong-un's regime may be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.

Now, let's remind you of the breaking news this hour on the conflict in Syria. Russia's president says the Syrian government and the opposition

are prepared to lay down their weapons and enter peace talks before the end of the year. Now, Putin also says he's ready to scale back Russia's

military presence there.

Turkey is backing the deal. Its ministry of foreign affairs says Syria may be on the brink of a political transition.

Now, a new study is shedding light on how brutal the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be. A South Korean think tank says he has ordered

more than 300 executions since taking power in 2011.

Over the past five years, we've been hearing similar tales of Kim's ruthless executions. Saima Mohsin has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Leading by fear, intimidation, and if all else fails, execution, that is the horrifying

message from a report by a South Korean think tank. It says that Kim Jong- un has been committing crimes against humanity by executing 340 senior officials and civilians. They were all public executions.

The report by the institute for National Security Strategy, a South Korean government funded

think tank, says about 140 senior officials have been executed so far. Although, news rarely leaks from

the secretive authoritarian country, stories of Kim's brutal executions have sometimes filtered out over the past five years he's been in power.

In May 2015, North Korea's defense chief was executed in public as hundreds watched, according to South Korean officials. And that's not all, they

say. It was death by anti-aircraft gun for pushing back on orders and falling asleep in meetings, an elaborate and unequivocal public

demonstration of what it means to upset or cross Kim Jong-un.

And not even his own uncle has been spared. Jang Song-thaek, a one-time protector and adviser to Kim turned traitor, according to North Korea's

official news agency, he was executed in December 2013 for creating his own power base.

His eulogy from Kim, despicable human scum.

And as Kim Jong-un's tyrannical rule, as the think tank puts it, continues, even those close to

him are believed to be taking extra care with their language and behavior. Senior military general

and politician Hwang Yang-soo (ph) seen here down on his knees taking notes.

And there are also revelations of coercion with North Korean residents being forced to pay

unreasonable amounts of money under the guise of taxes. Discontent, the report says, is rising there.

But then, so, too, is the brutal response. Between January and August this year alone, 60 North Korean residents have been publicly executed.

Well, CNN has reached out to the North Korean government for a response to the claims made in the report, but as is usually the case, there's been no

response.

The reports also say that they hope it will reach North Koreans so that they, too, can learn the

terms freedom and human rights.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Seoul, South Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Now, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says it would be stupid not to kick U.S. troops out of his country, that after CNN

Philippines asked him about his remarks on repealing the visiting forces agreement.

Mr. Duterte claims the U.S. wants to destroy him and that the troops are only there to, in his words, bully China.

But he had kinder words for the incoming U.S. president. He says that he thinks onald

Trump is easy to get along with and looks forward to a relationship with him.

Now, a rare diplomatic clash between the U.S. and Israel played out in a pair of dueling

speeches just hours after a vote by the UN condemning Israeli settlements. Netanyahu blamed the U.S., saying friends don't take friends to the

security council.

As Oren Liebermann reports, the U.S. secretary of state touched on that line in a striking rebuke.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Secretary of state John Kerry issuing a stern warning that a two-state solution is now in jeopardy.

KERRY: The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

LIEBERMANN: Kerry blasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of undermining peace efforts.

KERRY: The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution. But his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history with an

agenda driven by the most extreme elements.

LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu firing back, calling the speech a disappointment, and a bias attack that paid lip service to terror attacks by Palestinians.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders.

LIEBERMANN: Despite repeated denials, Netanyahu again accusing the U.S. of orchestrating Friday's United Nations vote condemning Israeli settlements

in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

NETANYAHU: We have it on absolute incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced, and brought this resolution

LIEBERMANN: Kerry vehemently defending the Obama administration's refusal to veto the U.N. resolution.

KERRY: No American administration has done more for Israel's security than Barack Obama's. We cannot properly defend and protect Israel if we allow a

viable two-state solution to be destroyed before our own eyes.

LIEBERMANN: President-elect Donald Trump weighing in on Kerry's speech from Florida.

TRUMP: We have to have peace. I think it set us back. But, we'll see what happens after January 20th, right?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And that was CNN's Oren Liebermann reporting.

And he joins us now live from Jerusalem. And Oren, what are the prospects for peace next year? I mean, what impact will the fallout from the UN

resolution vote, coupled with a President Donald Trump have on prospects for a peace deal?

[08:20:04] LIEBERMANN: I don't think anybody here is too optimistic about a peace deal, even with a new president coming in, Trump, who said he wants

to get the deal done. He's called it the ultimate deal.

As for the resolution, it's non-binding, sot it's effectively a guidelines or a recommendation and requires followup actions, which especially under

Trump seems unlikely.

President-elect Trump has promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The

Palestinians said that would of the two-state solution.

So, it depends what policies he pursues. Perhaps the best hint there is his pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, a man who has views far more

aligned with Netanyahu's own views, on ambassador David Friedman, that is also pro-settlement, that would be very much a blow to Palestinians.

LU STOUT: And that accusation from Israel, which was again repeated by Mr. Netanyahu overnight. He maintained his accusations that the U.S. is

somehow behind and orchestrated the UN resolution vote. And again, where's the evidence?

LIBERMANN: Still no evidence from the Israelis, still no information. They're sticking by the accusation. In fact, they've sharpened the

language of the accusation in recent days, saying there's ironclad information going beyond that.

And we keep pushing them, both here on air and there, Israeli officials in the U.S., about

what is this information. All they'll say is it's ironclad and they'll give it to the next administration.

Notably, the U.S. and Palestinians denying that these meetings ever took place or that there was ever discussion about what the parameters would be

or what the resolution would say.

Kristie, we're still trying to get that information. And it's just not coming. They're not putting it forward.

LU STOUT: All right. Had to ask there. Thank you very much for the update.

Oren Liebermann reporting live from Jerusalem. Thank you.

Now, Australian police say that they have made the country's biggest ever drug seizure from a single cartel. Around $260 million worth of cocaine

was confiscated. Police say the cartel had been smuggling drugs into Sydney using commercial fishing boats as cover. Now,

the first bust, it was in Tahiti in March when drugs bound for Australia were seized, and that was followed by more operations this month.

migration is a part of everyday life for towns along the border of Panama and Costa Rica, but the migrant influx has made those communities

especially vulnerable to human trafficking. Now, some students there are learning lessons that could help save potential victims.

Shasta Darlington has our latest Freedom Project report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an overcast day in northern Panama, ominous weather setting the stages inside one of the classrooms at

the progressive school, just a few hundred meters from the Costa Rican border.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hadn't thought of it.

DARLINGTON: The subject matter today -- the connection between migration and human trafficking. Officials say border communities like this one are

especially vulnerable, because migrants regularly pass through on the journey north to the United States. In the past, this school has been used

as a shelter for migrants. Some of these students as families have even sheltered migrants in their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being the supervisor of this school district, yes, I'm sure you have heard some of the stories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What have you heard?

FLOR BONILLA, PANAMA REGIONAL SCHOOL DIRECTOR (through translator): We have heard from the students in the education center who lived side by side with

the migrants with regards to people being trafficked, we have heard horror stories.

DARLINGTON: 18-year-old Julianna Santos has heard the stories, too. Her family welcomed four Cuban migrants into her home about a year ago while

they waited for immigration papers. Julianna says they told her about a woman who went missing after paying someone to smuggle her across the

border.

YULIANA SANTOS, STUDENT (through translator): She left alone, even though they told her to wait, so she could get to the United States faster. When

my friends got to the United States, they went to the place where the friend said she would be staying, and she had never arrived.

DARLINGTON: Officials with the International Organization for Migration or IOM say that story is typical. Traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of

migrants, offering passage across the border.

CY WINTER, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: But then on the other side is what's arranged there is completely different so they end up in a

place where they have to work and they got no way to get away from it.

DARLINGTON: That is why IOM is running these schoolwork shops. The goal is to teach students how to identify risky situations, how to care for victims

of trafficking, and how to protect potential victims from falling prey.

ALEXANDRA BONNIE, IOM PROJECT MANAGER: If someone of the school is having situations that can be associated with human trafficking or some trouble,

these children can be able to speak with this friend, knowing to help him.

DARLINGTON: And IOM is arming the students with tools they can use in everyday lives, like social media.

SANTOS (through translator): My friends and I agreed to begin using hashtag about human trafficking so it would reach more people on our friends in

social media. We are going to promote it so it spreads wider.

[08:25:14] DARLINGTON: At another school just across the border in Costa Rica, IOM is teaching the same subject matter, but using softer language,

because these kids are much younger. And the message is not just being delivered in schools. The parade called the march against human

trafficking. IOM brings together hundreds of people from both sides of the border.

Talking to the kids here, most of them tell me they never even heard of human trafficking, they live on the border so they knew about migration,

but they didn't know it could end in slavery.

IOM hopes to change that through programs like this in border towns throughout Central America and by encouraging neighboring countries to work

together.

Shasta Darlington CNN, on the Costa Rican/Panamanian border.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: And on Friday, the CNN Freedom Project introduces you to a young survivor of child sex trafficking and the organization that changed her

life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We had to have sex with them and do whatever they asked us to.

DARLINGTON: Madison was held captive for an entire year, forced to have sex with multiple men every day, until she escaped. Today she speaks

triumphantly about her recovery and her future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT: Hear Madison's remarkable story on Friday as our Freedom Project series continues.

Now, you're watching News Stream. And still ahead, we've got more on the announcement of a cease-fire reached to end Syria's civil war. What

Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed about the plan.

And remember Debbie Reynolds. Tributes to an actress who has died just one day after her own daughter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

[08:30:39] LU STOUT: And we return now to our top news story: a cease-fire set to take hold in Syria. Now, Russia's President Vladimir Putin

announced the deal just about an hour ago. And for more, let's go to our Matthew Chance in Moscow. Matthew, again, the cease-fire deal, it was

officially announced by Putin. What did he reveal about the plan?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not a lot of detail, at least from the reports that I've seen and the statements that

have been made by the Kremlin and the Russian defense ministry. But he said there have effectively been three deals that have been signed over the

course of recent days, of which he's felt confident enough to announce today.

The first one is that it's a cease-fire between the Syrian government and rebel opposition forces. It's not exactly clear to us yet which exact

groups are included when it comes to the rebel opposition forces in Syria. Obviously there's a diverse range of groups.

The Turkish statement and the Russian statement on this issue said that any group that's considered to be a terrorist group by the United Nations would

not be included in that cease-fire.

The second agreement is a package of measures to what the Russians call control the cease-fire. In other words, some kind of monitoring agreement

inside Syria to make sure that the cease-fire isn't broken by either side.

Again, no details on what exactly that would involve, whether it would involve Russian troops on the ground or some other kind of contingent.

The third agreement that's been announced today by the Kremlin is a declaration of readiness to

enter into peace talks for a settlement of the Syrian conflict. And this is significant, obviously because this cease-fire is by its very nature a

temporary agreement for a more permanent solution. All of the parties have got to sit down at peace talks. Those peace talks have been slated for

next month in Kazakhstan, although, an exact date hasn't been given yet, where all of these various parties -- the Russians, the Turks, the Syrians,

perhaps the Iranians as well and others will sit down and try and hammer out a more permanent solution to this conflict in Syria.

LU STOUT: A number of significant announcements there from Russia about the fate of Syria. And we've also learned that Russia says it's scaling

back its military operations in Russia -- I'm sorry, in Syria. Why is that?

CHANCE: Well, you're exactly right. I mean, that's the other thing that's been announced today, which is obviously very significant that Russia would

downscale the amount of forces it has inside Syria. Of course, it's got large amounts of troops and weaponry there, been carrying out air strikes

and special forces operations to back its ally, Bashar al-Assad.

That will now decrease, according to Vladimir Putin. He said he's been in consultations with the defense ministry. And he said that he will continue

to back -- Russia will continue to back the Syrian government. We will stand by the agreements that have been achieved, he said, and continue to

back the Syrian government when it comes to its fight against international terrorism.

Of course, Russia has said this before, back in March. Russia said it had -- basically its military operations were effectively at an end and it was

scaling back its military presence inside Syria. When it started to withdrew some of its aircraft there, only to build up again when the

requirements demanded that.

And so I think we can read into this, that look, Russia wants desperately to scale down its operations inside Syria, but it's not prepared to

sacrifice the gains that have already been made in that country. It's not prepared to, for instance, allow Bashar al-Assad, its ally in Syria, the

Syrian president, to be vulnerable. So even though it may scale down in the short term, it's obviously going to be keeping a very close eye on its

main ally there to make sure Bashar al-Assad's forces do not become vulnerable.

LU STOUT: Russia reached the cease-fire deal with Turkey and Iran. We know Russia and Turkey have been on opposing sides of the civil war.

There's also competing interests inside Syria involved in this truce. So it begs the question, will this cease-fire hold?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, I think other cease-fires that have been agreed and attempted in Syria

have, of course, failed. And there's every reason to suppose that this one will be very challenged as well, at the least.

But I think what's interesting is there's been a dramatic and potentially transformational development, which is that Russia and Turkey, both on

opposite sides effectively of this war in Syria, Russia backing Bashar al- Assad, Turkey backing various rebel groups opposed to Bashar al-Assad, they've managed to come together and are now talking essentially with one

voice, that they're all sitting at the same table to try and bring this -- make this cease-fire happen and to make the more permanent end of

hostilities take place as well.

The other interesting thing that I think we've got to bring up is that this, of course, excludes the United States. It's been conspicuous in its

absence from these talks that have been carrying on for several weeks. The Russian foreign minister came out today and said, look, when Donald

Trump enters the White House, he hopes that the U.S. administration will join this peace process and join with

Turkey and Iran and Russia to try and forge a more lasting peace in Syria.

LU STOUT: Yeah, this is a significant moment in the long history of the conflict in Syria. Again, announcement confirmed by Vladimir Putin. The

United States seems to be sidelined at this moment.

Matthew Chance, we'll leave it at that. As always, thank you for your reporting. Take care.

Now, Iraqi forces, they have launched phase two of an operation to retake the city of Mosul. And Iraqi military officials says they're trying to

recapture the entire east bank of the city from ISIS.

Now, the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have been part of a coalition pushing to end ISIS rule in Mosul. An Iraqi general says 20

ISIS militants were killed on Thursday, several of their vehicles destroyed.

Now, tou're watching News Stream. And still to come, a very sad week in Hollywood. Just one day after the death of Carrie Fisher, her mother, the

movie legend Debbie Reynolds, has also passed away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LU STOUT: Now, yesterday here on News Stream, we said the galaxy might be a little darker after the death of Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher. But

tonight you might see a sudden sparkle of brightness as a mother and daughter are heartbreakingly reunited.

Now, Debbie Reynolds, one of the last stars of Hollywood's golden age, has died just a day after Fisher. Now, the news was broken by Reynolds' son.

He told CNN she is with Carrie now.

And this was the final message Debbie Reynolds sent to the world via Twitter. It was posted on Christmas Day. It said her daughter was in

stable condition in the hospital. And just four days later so much has changed. And for all the challenges and heartbreak Reynolds faced right

until the end of her life, she never lost the elegance and humor that made her a star. Paul Vercammen has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBBIE REYNOLDS, SINGER-ACTRESS (singing): Alone now and I'm singing my song for you...

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Singer, dancer, actress Debbie Reynolds was a Hollywood triple threat and America's sweetheart. Her

film career begun at the age of 16 after being spotted in a beauty pageant.

REYNOLDS: I'm laughing at clouds --

VERCAMMEN: Her star officially launched just a few years later after a spirited performance opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in 1952's

"Singing in the Rain."

REYNOLDS: They picked me to put me in "Singing in the Rain". And they just locked me in a studio and for three months, I had five teachers. One for

tap and ballet, jazz, modern, and I just worked, worked, worked, you know, until I would just fall apart.

VERCAMMEN: Other roles followed, including 1957's "Tammy and the Bachelor", which resulted in her number hit song "Tammy". She played opposite Gregory

Peck in "How the West Was Won" and her performance in "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" earned her an Oscar nomination.

Beloved on screen, at times, Reynolds' life off-screen overshadowed her success. She had two children with the first husband, crooner Eddie Fisher,

producer Todd Fisher and actress/author Carrie Fisher who died just one day before her mother. In 1959, the marriage ended in a highly publicized

divorce when Fisher left Reynolds to marry her close friend Elizabeth Taylor, a painful betrayal.

Reynolds was able to joke with the scandal years later.

REYNOLDS: I was a Girl Scout. I really was really a simple little girl. That's what I was. He fell madly in love with Elizabeth. Now, I understand,

you know, so many years later. It's in the past.

VERCAMMEN: Her second and third marriages also ended in divorce, each time causing Reynolds financial pain. However, she had quietly collecting

Hollywood memorabilia over the years that would prove to be a wise investment. In 2011, Reynolds sold Marilyn Monroe's white subway dress at

auction for $4.6 million.

She also never quit performing, though, she stepped away from film for much of her career, Reynolds continued to entertain on Broadway stages and in

Las Vegas nightclubs.

In addition, Reynolds had several TV roles over the years, notably playing Liberace's mother in the 2013 Emmy-winning TV movie "Beyond the

Candelabra." Her wide array of work was recognized in 2015, when the Screen Actors Guild honored Reynolds with the lifetime achievement award. Reynolds

said she loved every minute she spends in show business in her 2013 autobiography, "Unsinkable". She credits the love she had for her friends

and family for personal and professional resiliency.

And it is that spark and sense of humor, along with her talent that Reynolds will be remembered for.

REYNOLDS: I love you. Good night, everybody. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LU STOUT: Such an icon.

Now, the actress once joked that her daughter Carrie used to just be known as Debbie Reynolds'

daughter, but when Star Wars came along, people started calling Reynolds Princess Leia's mother.

Now, tributes are pouring in for a family that inspired generations of Hollywood stars. And we want to draw your attention to this tweet by

Madonna. It's a picture of a young Carrie Fisher sitting in the wings of a theater. She's watching her mother on stage. And at the end of the

message, Madonna writes this, quote, hug your mother today, then hug your daughter.

Madonna's own mother died early in the singer's life.

But we leave you not with tragedy, but by remembering Debbie Reynolds here at her best. The unsinkable star who showed us why we should laugh when

we're down and why we should sing in the rain.

And that is News Stream.

END