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CONNECT THE WORLD
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Deadly Blast in Syria; No-Confidence Debate Underway in U.K. Parliament; U.K. Pound Holding Steady during No Confidence Debate; U.S. Service Members Killed in Blast in Syria; British Prime Minister Faces No-Confidence Vote after Historic Defeat; At Least 14 Dead from Terrorist Attack in a Nairobi Hotel. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 16, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from Abu Dhabi. And we begin with
breaking news out of Syria. ISIS is claiming responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing in Manbij, a city patrolled by U.S. troops and Kurdish
fighters. We've just gotten confirmation from a U.S.-led coalition that American troops are among the dead. Although we don't yet know the total
number of casualties.
Now we have extremely disturbing video of the moment the blast went off, sending a fireball on to a busy street. We are going to show it now. You
may want to turn away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(DEADLY BLAST IN SYRIA VIDEO)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well that attack comes less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing American troops from Syria declaring ISIS
defeated. Well, CNN's Nick Payton Walsh who has been in and out of Syria numerous times following developments from London. Nick, what can you tell
us at this point?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the dramatic developments in the last few minutes is the U.S. Operation Inherent
Resolve. That's the operation inside Iraq and Syria against ISIS, confirming there have been Americans service members, plural, killed. And
was sort heralded in the past few hours by a number of tweets. The suggestion from the White House that Donald Trump is being kept constantly
informed about what happens there, and also, they that they were studying the reports as they are moving on.
I have to say, in Manbij itself -- I was there in February -- you know, U.S. Special Forces move around quite freely, quite relaxed. They weren't
wearing body armor or helmets when I was with them. And this particular blast claimed by ISIS without a shred of evidence to back that up though.
They often claim responsibility for things that simply suit their agenda.
This occurs at a particularly, acutely important time, as you were saying, Becky, we don't know the numbers of casualties there. As you can see from
that horrifying video, certainly Syrians just passing by on the street there, caught up in that particular blast.
But Donald Trump declared ISIS defeated more or less, in Syria, and Iraq, just a month ago, saying we quickly pull troops out, apparently telling
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call that he was welcome to try and take over to fight against ISIS. That led to Secretary of Defense Jim
Mattis to resign, as he disagreed it seemed with that Syrian policy move.
Then the timetable has changed. Trump's advisers have said perhaps we need to curb Iran's influence, perhaps we need to ensure that the Turkish to the
north don't attack the Syrian Kurds that the U.S. are allied with. Lots of conditions that potentially extended the U.S. presence here but this it
seems involves multiple U.S. service members. It appears to involve some kind of blast on the street there. If can see in that CCTV video, there
appeared to be a couple of SUVs on the street near that particular blast. Which remind me of the vehicles we traveled around Manbij with the U.S.
Special Forces, back in February as well.
So clearly, a very severe instance here for the U.S. military and of course for those Syrian Kurds caught up in the blast too here. And one that
suggests that ISIS, while having lost pretty much all of their territory now, will continue, it seems, if they are in fact, behind this. I should
point out their social media claims often lack a shred of evidence to back up their claims of responsibility. But it's certainly the optics here that
ISIS still continues to pose a threat -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Critics of the withdrawal plans from the U.S., or from Donald Trump, had warned that this was a town, as were other towns near the
border, that might come under attack, specifically from the Turks. Just remind us of the context of this region, this area, what is going on at
WALSH: Well, in this place, it is an extraordinary mess at the end of Syria's brutal civil war. But Manbij, the most particularly complicated
place. Now, it's controlled by the Syrian Kurds. They're allies of the United States and the global coalition against ISIS. And they lost a lot
of their people defeating ISIS, kicking them out of the territory that they now control. To the west of them, Turkey's allies, Syrian rebels backed by
Turkey, Turkey considers the Syrian Kurds for ISIS to be terrorists, although Turkey also considers ISIS to be terrorists, too.
And when I was there in February, you had this awkward moment, really where the Americans backing the Syrian Kurds were often 100 meters or so away
from those Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. Occasionally pot shots being exchanged across a sort of tense frontline. In the last year or so, the
Syrian regime, backed by Russia, has gotten closer, too.
[10:05:00] So, we have this sort of three-sided face-off around Manbij now. Itself a comparatively peaceful town into which this blast has occurred.
That's the geopolitical mess of that part of Syria. The broader question about President Trump policy here was he said, he defeated ISIS and was
going to leave. Because he always talked while he campaigned about reducing America's exposure to sort of endless wars, in his terminology,
People questioned the Syria move because Syria's relatively small presence of U.S. Special Forces was getting an awful lot done strategically. They
were able to curb Iranian influence in the area. That made the American ally Israel more relaxed because material couldn't get through to Lebanon
potentially threatening northern Israel if the Americans were there. They seemed to keep the Syrian Kurds relatively safe. A sort of thank you for
their fight against ISIS. Making sure Turkey didn't make a start and move against them. And on top of that too, they continue to fight against ISIS.
Suddenly pulling them out confused many people and I think the last month or so, we've seen that policy slightly diluted. The question really is,
how many American service members were killed? Who did it? And does it mean that America stays longer or leave quicker -- Becky?
ANDERSON: Nick, for those who are just joining us, it's five past the hour. This is news that is just coming in to CNN. So let's just step back
for a moment and remind those who are with us and those who may be joining us exactly what we are reporting out of Syria at this hour, if you will.
WALSH: Yes, so there's been a blast in Manbij. A key town on sort of a focal point of many of the different forces struggling to control the sort
of slow post-war game in Syria. This blast has killed it seems many Syrian civilians on the streets outside of what looked like a cafe where it
But we've heard in the last few minutes that the U.S. military says some of its service members were killed in that explosion. They don't say how
many. And they don't say how many wounded, but that came out to a number of hours of sort of dark signs that something bad was afoot for the U.S.
military there. They have a substantial presence of special forces, highly trained, very well-equipped individuals, who have been pursuing the fight
against ISIS there. But while the numbers are unclear, this clearly is a bad instance.
We've seen on social media videos potentially of casualty evacuations there, involving helicopters. And it comes at a key time for the Trump
administration's policy in Syria. They announced pre-holiday season, that they were getting out asap. They've diluted that timetable. They've taken
some equipment out. The troops are still there. The fight against ISIS though -- who've a claimed responsibility for this, without a shred of
evidence -- still hasn't been finished. And an attack like this where it proven to be ISIS, would suggest they remain a threat, particularly against
even highly trained troops like this who have been previously circulating a town like Manbij in a relatively relaxed formation -- Becky.
ANDERSON: U.S. policy, or the lack there of. We will keep you bang up to date on this breaking news story, as we get more details. Nick, thank you
for that. For now viewers, we want to get to you Julia Chatterley who is in London and who has the latest on the Brexit vote fallout -- Julia.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN HOST: Thanks so much, Becky. You're right, here in Westminster, there's an ominous warning. The British Prime Minister says
there will be chaos if the country goes to a general election. That's one of the possible outcomes if lawmakers vote against the government in a
confidence vote being held later on today. They're debating that confidence vote right now as we speak. This all follows a political defeat
for Theresa May's government on a scale not seen for more than a century, but as ever, the Prime Minister is defiant in her plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There are actually two ways of avoiding no deal. The first is to agree to a deal and the second would be
to revoke Article 50. Now, that would mean staying in the European Union, claiming to respect the result of the referendum, and that is, and that is
something that this government will not do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: So we have you covered on all sides of this story, Nic Robertson is at Downing Street. Bianca Nobilo is here outside Parliament.
Phil Black is following the crowds around Westminster, and Erin McLaughlin has the reaction from Brussels. We've also got Ana Stewart on a London
trading floor for us as well.
Bianca, we are going to start with you. Because as we've discussed already today, on any normal day, we would be discussing that defeat last night but
we're not. We're talking about the confidence vote set to take place later and a confidence vote the government is set to win.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the expectation. Given that the extreme wings of the Conservative Party, when it comes to Brexit, the
wings which oppose the Prime Minister's Brexit deal that plunged her into the historic defeat yesterday. They're going to be backing her today.
They've said so on record. Now we don't know what everybody is going to do. We will find out tonight because it will be public.
It is interesting what you mentioned about a general election and the Prime Minister's warning.
[10:10:00] Actually, at the last general election in 2017, we never saw Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May face off. This was the biggest debate that
I've actually witnessed between the two, on a campaigning general election sort of vein. Because they're both attacking not just Brexit, and their
approach, but their approaches to all types of government policy. So they are really at each other's throats than is the opportunity for the parties
to unite against each other. And for the Conservative Party to dig their heels in, and really express why they believe they should be the governing
party. And that despite the situation where with Brexit amount abyss that's before us, that they believe the conservatives are the right party
to take the country forward.
CHATTERLEY: To use your words, at each other's throats at the point where we need maximum level of unity right now in this government. Nic, I want
to bring you in, because I think what did become clear in that Prime Minister question time, and the barbs that were being thrown on both sides,
is that Prime Minister Theresa May does not seem to have changed her stance on negotiating this Brexit deal to any great degree at all. Despite that
shocking defeat last night.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, she was asked a number of times, by members of the opposition, by the SMP as well, about
her position on the customs union, on the single market, and this is what she's hearing being echoed from the European Union, from the Irish Prime
Minister today. Saying that these are red lines that the British government said. Indeed it is a year, it is two years to the day,
tomorrow, when Theresa May set out in Lancaster House the vision of Brexit that she was going to adhere to. Which was leaving the European Union
Customs Union, leaving the European Union Single Market. And I think the questions today have been to try to figure out if she's actually budging
from that, as seems to be the expectation outside Britain.
She herself has said that she is going to reach out across the party, across party lines, to try to speak to those who might have something to
say, that can help her with her deal. But she was emphasizing when she used this response multiple times today during question time in Parliament,
that she was reaching out to the Conservative Party, reaching out to the DUP -- that party in Northern Ireland that provides her with her very
slender majority -- and reaching out across party lines. But the fundamental there doesn't -- she doesn't appear to be reaching out to the
leaders of other parties, in particular, Jeremy Corbyn today. Said that he had not received a phone call from Theresa May. And the feeling that
people appear to be left with, is that Theresa May isn't budging from those red lines. Sticking, as far as we know at the moment, to her original
plan. Not shifting, despite that huge, huge defeat.
CHATTERLEY: The phrase "carry on regardless" comes to mind. What was fascinating to me last night, when that vote result came out, is that the
cheers of jubilation that came from the protesters outside, whether they were Brexiteers or remainers. And you have to ask the question, both sides
can't win here. Phil, come in. Because I know you've been talking to members of the public outside Westminster. What's their take?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Julia, the numbers today, well they are a little lower than yesterday. A little less spirited, too. But let me show
you. There are still true believers here. People that are hoping they could influence the events that are taking place in the House just next to
What we're seeing today are mostly remain supporters. These are the sort of people that have had a very frequent regular sight down here next to
Parliament for a period of time, stretching back more than a year. I want you to see them now. This is Chris Hatcher, he's come down from Wales.
Traveled all the way to be here. Tell me why you're here today?
CHRIS HATCHER, WELSH REMAIN SUPPORTER: I'm here today basically to stop Brexit and I've been campaigning to stop Brexit since before the referendum
and I'm still campaigning now, because it's going to be hugely damaging to our country.
BLACK: Tell me specifically in regard to the event that's taking place in the House today. There's a vote on a motion of no confidence in the
government, essentially an intent by the Labour Party to depose that government in the hopes of triggering a general election. How will that
help your cause, do you believe?
HATCHER: A general election will not help our cause at all. This is very much a cross-party issue. The parties are split, almost exactly the same
as the country. So having a general election, basically, a lot of us won't know who to vote for because the issue hasn't been dealt with. If Labour
came out clearly for a people's vote for instance or came out very clearly for remaining, you could use the general election as a referendum, as it
is, a lot of us wouldn't know who to vote for.
BLACK: So, the Labour Party policy is, we are told, that [10:15:00] if they can't get the general election, they will then perhaps campaign for a
second referendum, the so-called people's vote. Do you think that could happen?
HATCHER: It's possible. Politically, it's possible the only way they are going to revoke Article 50 is by a people's vote. But really, what they
should be doing is revoking Article 50.
[10:15:00] The time for a people's vote was really six months ago at least. That has denied us, right the way through.
BLACK: It could be a democratic problem for that though.
HATCHER: There could be democratic problems with it. But our MP's, our representatives, they're representing our best interests, and clearly, our
best interest is the deal that we've got now. We're talking about under May's deal, a 4 percent drop in GDP. The 2000 recession -- worldwide
recession, was a 2 percent drop. We had austerity for ten years, you're looking for twice the austerity for that as long. If it's under WTO rules
we're looking at least an 8 percent drop. Eight percent drop you're looking at devastation across the country.
BLACK: Chris Hatcher thank you very much for talking to us. Please step out of the rain.
HATCHER: Thank you very much.
BLACK: So, what he's suggesting there, is the feeling that's been suggested by others. And that is in the expectation that Theresa May
survives this no confidence vote, what they would like to see is her reach out across the parties across the House to try to solve this. Julia, back
CHATTERLEY: Yes, such an interesting point, Phil, we're not defined now by a Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem support, or whatever it is. It's remain or
Brexit. So critical. Obviously, almost critical to this debate is what the Europeans are doing right now. Let's bring in Erin here as well.
Erin, because it does feel like the Europeans at this stage are saying, look, the ball remains in your court. Come up with a deal we can talk
about and then we will. Erin.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Julia. I found Phil Black's interview there fascinating, a member of the public, urging Prime
Minister May to reach out across parties, that's what we're hearing from EU leaders in Brussels as well. t Guy Verhofstadt making that point in
Strasburg this morning, saying that members of the European Parliament are able to reach out across party, why can't the U.K.?
The onus at this point, in the eyes of the EU really is on the U.K. to fix this situation. They're urging the British Prime Minister Theresa May to
go back to the drawing board, so to speak, to reevaluate her red line, specifically on that question of the future relationship, and come forward
with a proposal if that proposal is credible, the EU will consider it. Take a listen to what some leaders had to say earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We still have time to negotiate, but we're waiting for what the British Prime Minister will
MICHEL BARNIER, EU CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR (through translator): Ten weeks away the risk of a no deal has never seemed so high. Our goal is to avoid
such a scenario but we also have a responsibility to remain clear-headed.
GUY VERHOFSTADT, LEADER OF ALLIANCE OF LIBERALS AND DEMOCRATS OF EUROPE: I think it's time now to tell our British friends that for the sake of
Britain itself, it is time for cross-party cooperation in Britain, as we do here in this Parliament, from day one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: So there is a sense of urgency, frustration, and concern here, in Brussels, particularly about the clock. There's a growing sense that
that Article 50 deadline will need to be extended. But for that to happen, a law needs to be passed in Westminster, extending Article 50, and Theresa
May needs to come forward with a credible proposal to resolve this crisis.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and today, she all but ruled that out. Erin, great perspective. Thank you for that. In the meantime, time just slips away,
and that's not good for the business community. Anna Stewart joins us now. Anna, you been tracking not only the market response here, but the business
community response here, and they are more and more alarmed about just how they plan for what feels like at this stage an approaching no deal exit.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, the market reaction has been fairly muted on hopes that no deal has been averted, but as Erin said, Article 50
could be extended, perhaps they have more time to play with. But the business reaction, very, very different. Every head of every business that
I can think of has lambasted Parliament's failure to vote through a deal, the government's failure to get a deal the MP's would vote for. Because of
all the uncertainty. And as an economist economists, I spoke to here. ING earlier today said, you know, businesses hope for the best, but they have
to plan for the worst, and the worst is still on the table. No deal is possible, until it's properly ruled out, until a real deal seems to be
coming to the fore. Now the Chancellor spoke to many of the business leaders yesterday straight after the vote. They were not reassured. I
spoke to a few of them who were on that phone call, one was the chair of EYUK, and he said, following that he's still advising his clients to
prepare for a no deal Brexit. Put those contingency plans in place, he said.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, tough. Nic, Bianca, Phil, Eric, and Ana there, thank you to you all. And we are showing you live pictures of that ongoing debate
ahead of the confidence vote tonight. The question is, and if Prime Minister May's government survives the no confidence vote later, she'll
have three days -- just three working days to come up with a new Brexit plan.
[10:20:04] At some point, the Prime Minister is expected to meet European leaders in an attempt to renegotiate the agreement. If Prime Minister May
does not survive, the government does not survive the no confidence vote later, it would likely lead to a general election.
So what exactly is the Prime Minister thinking right now? One person who would know is Katie Perrior. She's Theresa May's former director of
communications. Great to have you with us. Please tell us what the Prime Minister is thinking at this moment because a lot of people are confused, I
KATIE PERRIOR, THERESA MAY'S FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: Well, in a way this kind of boat this afternoon is pure theater.
PERRIOR: Because if pocket -- because you can't do anything about it, even if she was facing a vote of no confidence because she didn't have the
numbers. There is not much she can do now. So her concentration will be on that. Getting involved in those three days of talks, negotiation with
the EU. Hopefully getting her own party, and maybe even some other members of the Labour Party, or SMP, in to meet her. Saying OK, what could you
vote for? Because we've heard a lot in Parliament in the last 24 hours about what they don't like. But what we haven't heard is what will they
CHATTERLEY: And that's the open question here, because right now, there is no consensus.
PERRIOR: And we could end up in a bit of a ground hog day scenario whereby she comes back on Monday with a little tweet to her deal. They then vote
against it again. She then faces another vote of no confidence, because, of course, the Labour Party can keep doing this. There's no reason why
they wouldn't do that. And then she goes back again. And we run down the clock. And of course the blame game will then start to focus on who is
wasting time here. We've wasted a month since the last vote. That's a month closer to that March deadline. We're all but resigned to the fact
that we probably have to extend Article 50 now. That kind of international embarrassment, in some regards. And something we really wanted to avoid.
CHATTERLEY: I think some people would argue that the whole past two years has been a bit of an international embarrassment but it continues.
Fantastic to have you on, thank you so much. Plenty more analysis as we count down to that confidence vote on the government tonight. But for now,
back to you.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Julia. Julia's outside the Houses of Parliament, of course, in London, on that Brexit story.
Ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD this hour, more on today's other breaking news story. An explosion in a U.S.-patrolled city in northern Syria. The U.S.-
led coalition now confirming American service members were killed. We've got the latest for you after this short break. Don't go away.
[10:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: We'll get you more on the breaking news out of Syria this hour. ISIS claiming responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing in Manbij, a city
patrolled by U.S. troops and Kurdish fighters. We've just gotten confirmation from the U.S.-led coalition that American troops are among the
dead there, although we don't yet know the total number of casualties. We have though extremely disturbing video of the moment of the blast, sending
a fireball on to a busy street. I want to show that to you now. If you don't want to see it, please, turn away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(DEADLY BLAST IN SYRIA VIDEO)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
While that attack comes less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing American troops from Syria. Declaring
ISIS defeated. CNN's Ryan Browne is in Washington. He's live at the Pentagon for us and joining us now. What else are you hearing there, Ryan?
BRIAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, Becky, we're being told that multiple U.S. service members were killed in this attack. That is being
claimed by ISIS. Although there is no proof yet that ISIS was actually behind this blast.
Now this area is a very hotly-contested area. The U.S. has been patrolling it for some time and assisting local Kurdish and Arab fighters there as
they establish security. But there is also, Turkey has long wanted to move into this area as well. The Turks have long said that their forces, their
allies, should take over Manbij. So it's been central in this kind of diplomatic back and forth between the U.S. and Turkey, over the fate of
Syria. So there's been a lot of attention being paid to it.
But there are still ISIS remnants there. We're being told the U.S. and its local allies have sought to root out. In fact, one of the other two combat
deaths suffered by U.S. troops in Syria, one of them did occur in Manbij, about a year ago. So this has been an area of some fraught tensions.
Before it was taken from ISIS, it was a key facilitation point for ISIS fighters moving through, and smuggling fighters into Turkey, and from
outside into Syria. So it's a key strategic town, is why the U.S. maintains a military presence. And its fate has come into question. As
you mentioned, Donald Trump has claimed victory over ISIS. He announced that the U.S. would be coming out soon. Now, that withdrawal has kind of
begun to be slowed a little bit. Some equipment has come out. But questions remain about what the 2,000 troops in Syria, how long they'll
stay and whether they will continue to suffer casualties like they did today -- Becky.
Ron, I've got Clarissa Ward who's on the ground in Syria, our chief international correspondent in northern Syria. Let's get to her. What are
you hearing on the ground -- Clarissa?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well, Becky, you know, we were in the town of Manbij yesterday. This is a town
of roughly 100,000 people. And it's kind of the place in Syria where you can really see up close the patch work of different powers who have a stake
in Syria. Because (INAUDIBLE) armed the outskirts of the town of Manbij. Just about 10 minutes down the road, you have a joint Russian and regime
base. And then of course, you have the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who are over the town itself.
And important for our viewers to know, that Manbij, as a town, is an Arab town. And so there is kind of an inherent tension going on, between the
SDS and people who are living in the town. When we drove through there, we happened upon a funeral. Because just the day before, two Arab local
security officers, who were working with the Kurdish-led SDS, had been killed in a car bomb. And if you talk to Kurdish leaders, in northern
Syria, they will tell you, listen, you can push ISIS out of the various towns, but there are sleeper cells all across the northern Syria. Any
former ISIS stronghold, you are almost guaranteed there are still sleeper cells within these towns. And it's very difficult to mitigate the threat
of the sleeper cells, once they're operating as an insurgent group underground.
This of course is the largest scale casualty that we've seen with regards to U.S. forces on the ground.
[10:30:00] The massive explosion, local media saying ten people killed. But sadly, the tension and the space in this town of Manbij, which we felt
and really saw for ourselves, it is not entirely surprising to hear that ISIS or Daesh -- as it is known here --is, trying to assert itself in this
town. Particularly trying to capitalize on a potential power vacuum as the U.S. withdraws its troops -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Should this be confirmed as an attack by ISIS, Donald Trump's decision much criticized to withdraw from Syria, will be deemed extremely
WARD: I think it is fair to say that it will be deemed premature to declare a definitive victory against ISIS. Because you have two components
that you're dealing with here. You have territorial caliphates, which is the land that they occupied and set up the Islamic State. And then you
have the people themselves, the underground movement, the insurgency, the mentality, that, Becky, is much more difficult for ground troops or
Kurdish-led fighters or coalition aircraft to target. Much harder to see. Much harder to know where it is. And much more likely to thrive in the
power vacuum that may be caused by this U.S. withdrawal -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Clarissa Ward on the ground in northern Syria. Clarissa, thank you. Our chief international correspondent for you. And we will keep you
fully up to date, viewers, on that story, as more details emerge. We'll also take you back to the Houses of Parliament in Britain, for the
continued Brexit debacle. Stay with us. Taking a very short break. Back after this.
[10:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: Our top story this hour, breaking news, out of northern Syria, ISIS claiming responsibility for a deadly bombing in Manbij. It's a town
patrolled by U.S. and Kurdish troops. The blast claiming the lives of American soldiers. We've got the video of the moment the blast went off.
It sent a fireball on to what was a busy street. We will show it to you and we will give you a moment, if you want to turn away, please do so now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(DEADLY BLAST IN SYRIA VIDEO)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: You may recall just weeks ago President Trump announced that he would pull U.S. forces out of Syria, because ISIS had been defeated, he
said. Here's what he said while visiting U.S. troops in Iraq over Christmas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The other reason I'm here today is to personally thank you and every service member throughout this
region for the near elimination of the ISIS territorial caliphate in Iraq, and in Syria. Two years ago, when I became President, there were a very
dominant group. They were very dominant. Today, they're not so dominant anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That was Donald Trump visiting troops in Iraq at Christmas. Today, the news that ISIS is claiming responsibility for a deadly suicide
bombing in Manbij, a northern city patrolled by U.S. troops and Kurdish fighters. We're going to give you more, get you more, on this story, as we
get it into CNN.
For now though, we get you back to Julia Chatterley who's in London. She has the very latest on the Brexit vote fallout -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Thanks so much, Becky. Now, literally right now, behind me, the British Prime Minister is fighting once again for her political
survival. You are looking at live pictures from inside the House of Commons. Lawmakers are debating a motion of no confidence in Theresa May's
Conservative government. It follows a blistering and humiliating defeat of her Brexit deal by Parliament on Tuesday night. She lost by an historic
margin. We're talking 230 votes. Despite that though, the Prime Minister is expected to survive the no confidence vote tonight. Earlier, she urged
MP's to back her, to avoid a general election. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: Last night, the House rejected the deal the government has negotiated with the European Union. Today, it has asked a simple question. Should
the next step be a general election? I believe that is the worst thing we could do. It would deepen -- it would deepen division when we need unity.
It would bring chaos when we need certainty. And it would bring delay when we need to move forward. So I believe this House should reject this
motion. At this crucial moment in our nation's history, a general election is simply not in the national interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Nigel Huddleston is a Conservative MP. He is a remainer, who voted for Prime Minister May's deal yesterday. One of few in fact.
NIGEL HUDDLESTON, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Well, just 202 of us. So, that was a disappointing result. There's no doubt about that.
CHATTERLEY: Were you shocked?
HUDDLESTON: I was a bit surprised. I was expecting probably between 150 and 200 and it ended up being 230.
CHATTERLEY: But we were talking earlier, just off camera, and you were saying that there were people that you knew very well that were changing
their minds as they were going in to vote there. What was the challenge here?
HUDDLESTON: I think the main challenge, I mean we've heard about this a lot, this backstop issue, is really just keeps going on and on and on. And
colleagues just can't get comfortable with the idea of this backstop being temporary unless there is an absolute crystal-clear legal commitment to do
so. Now, personally, I'm comfortable with where we are, because I think actually, we actually wouldn't have a permanent backstop. But some
colleagues want it absolutely clear. So they went in, really struggling no doubt. Right away to the last minute and you know, I'm not comfortable
enough and therefore voted down the deal.
CHATTERLEY: Because they're so close to an exit from the EU. I mean, I understand why people are challenged for many reasons at this stage. Let's
bring it back to the confidence vote tonight, which the Prime Minister is expected to win. Unity, she was talking about there, for the first time in
a long time, at least for one day with the Conservative Party.
[10:40:00] Can a deal, a plan B, be reached here? And does the Prime Minister need to change tact? Because what we were listening to earlier,
the Prime Minister's questions did not sound like a Prime Minister that was changing tact enough.
HUDDLESTON: Well, you're right that today -- actually after yesterday's division, you will see the Conservative Party speak with one clear voice
CHATTERLEY: One day only.
HUDDLESTON: There will be unity today. And actually you see that in the atmosphere in the Parliament today. But I do think there is a
responsibility on both the Prime Minister, but also the opposition, to make sure that we can get some consensus. Because as the Prime Minister's been
saying, you know, it's all very well saying what you don't want. The Labour Party, in particular, needs to say what is acceptable and what they
will come back with. So there's a responsibility on both sides of the chamber, because this is a national issue. And we've got to take national
responsibility here. So we've got to avoid some of the party politics. But that's very difficult and that kind of set up we've got behind us.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, Jeremy Corbyn said he hadn't received -- at least at this point earlier today -- a phone call from Theresa May. Admittedly
there is a confidence vote going on. But is the Prime Minister in your view ready to reach across the aisle here and come up with some kind of
compromise? Because there were a lot of voices from the Conservative Party earlier on today -- Andrea Leadsom was one of them -- simply did not look
like they were willing to negotiate. And you have a business community in the U.K. that spoke to the chancellor, they're also pretty terrified at
HUDDLESTON: Well, exactly. And you've really hit the point there. The opinion is so divided, and lots of people voted yesterday to vote the deal
down. But they did so for a multitude of reasons. Some people expected to go to a second referendum. Some people, because they want a hard Brexit.
So the expectations are all over the place. And clearly, they can't all be right. So somebody's going to be very disappointed because they're now
thinking oh, we can now renegotiate or get something, and I'll get what I want out of it. Well that's diametrically opposed to what a huge number of
other people want. So it's going to be very difficult to get a consensus. But all we need is a simple majority. So that means a few more
Conservative MP's and I hope a few more Labour MP's?
CHATTERLEY: Is the responsible move by this government -- if they survive the confidence vote tonight -- to say, you know what, we are not ready.
We have to take ownership of the failure of the negotiations over the last two and half years and postpone the withdrawal date. And say we're not
ready to a no deal exit on the 29th of March. Is that the responsibility thing to do?
HUDDLESTON: There's definitely a momentum behind no deal, that's building in the Conservative and the Labour --
CHATTERLEY: A no deal exit?
HUDDLESTON: Sorry, to stop a no deal exit.
HUDDLESTON: To make sure that that doesn't happen. The crashing out is just not acceptable for business and all sorts of other reasons. So I
don't think that is possible at all. But building some consensus around something else, that's the difficult task. But talking around the customs
union, I don't think the second referendum is possible. But I do think the key -- going back to the issue -- is that backstop. If we can reassurance
on the backstop, meaningful reassurance, it will satisfy Conservative and some Labour MPs.
CHATTERLEY: And very quickly, do you think Europe's willing to bend on that? Because at no point, have they been willing to bend on that.
HUDDLESTON: I think they're going to have to. And at the end of the day, they've a 76-billion-pound trade surplus with the U.K. that they want to
make sure is still there as well.
CHATTERLEY: We're still gambling, sir. Thank you so much for joining us. The debate continues, the divisions continue. Becky, I'll hand back to
ANDERSON: Julia, thank you for that.
We are following some breaking news out of Syria this hour, folks. ISIS claiming responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing in Manbij, which is a
city patrolled by U.S. troops, and Kurdish fighters. Now we have got confirmation that American troops are among the dead, although we don't yet
know the total number of casualties.
And another major story that we are also following this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The exit strategy we are all hoping to take, that strategy, this is new, and I don't know how that happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The stories of survivors from the terrifying attack on a hotel in Kenya, as the death toll there continues to rise.
[10:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was actually doing a presentation when the explosion went off. I don't have words. I just say, thank God that you
are OK. I think that's all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
We're hearing the terrifying stories, of what happened in Tuesday's deadly terrorist attack on a hotel in Nairobi, in Kenya. Now, the hotel's
surveillance footage shows a group of gunmen storming the complex. They killed at least 14 people and staged a pitched battle with police that
ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Among the dead, an American entrepreneur named Jason Spindler. He founded a consultant company that
worked to raise money for companies in emerging markets. And an unidentified British man also reportedly killed in the attack.
Well, CNN's Farai Sevenzo has been on the scene, just after the attack happened. He joins us now live from Nairobi by phone. What's the very
latest there, as you understand it, Farai?
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well, Becky, we are still at the Riverside drive, and we are just seeing a lot of police and soldiers.
And relations, as we have it -- there are fair amount of people who were rescued. The President Kenyatta went on national television to say 14
people lost had their lives in this attack.
But of course, given the nature of this attack -- and I've been speaking to (INAUDIBLE) personnel standing around, as had them to do, we're expecting
that figure to climb somewhat. At the moment, with everything on the focus of the victims, we're hearing stories of friends who had worked in a
distant complex. But remember, it isn't just the hotel, it offers office space for up and coming high-tech companies, startup companies, Kenyans,
renowned the world over. So this was an attack not just on the hotel.
Remember, there were tourists but on many sort of non-professional Kenyans from many parts of Kenya. So at the moment, they're waiting to hear about
the attackers. Who they were? And how they planned this date? But the day has been taken up by funerals of the dead, some Muslim victims had to
be buried, as you know the custom, and probably tomorrow, more funerals coming up for the dead -- Becky.
ANDERSON: The President praising Kenya's security services for their swift response. Saying, and I quote, the operational priority of the security
services was first and foremost to safeguard civilian life. Just how are those security services coped?
SEVENZO: Given what has happened in the last attack six years ago at the Westgate Mall, there was (INAUDIBLE) there was a massive agreement of
disaster preparedness. The ambulances are on standby, and even though the besiege, or whatever you want to call what happened yesterday, lasted some
nine hours. I mean we left at about 2:00 in the morning and you could still hear gunfire. The security forces managed to maintain and control
then the situation, as well as working with other people. So I think in that front, it went well.
ANDERSON: Farai Sevenzo is on the phone from Nairobi in Kenya. Thanks, Farai.
Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, we've got two breaking stories of course, sort of going on as we speak. We've also got Brexit this hour.
Britain's Prime Minister defiant in the face of another blistering day in Parliament. In just a few hours, MP's will decide the fate of her
Conservative government. The very latest this hour, from London, up next.
[10:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHATTERLEY: You're watching CNN, and this is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Julia Chatterley in London, welcome back to the show. And we return to one of
our top stories today.
Another day of deep uncertainty in Britain, as the Prime Minister fights for political survival after a crushing Brexit deal defeat. Lawmakers will
hold a no confidence vote against Theresa May's government in the coming hours. A motion brought forth by the opposition Labour Party. On Tuesday,
Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the Prime Minister's Brexit deal by an historic margin, 432 votes to 202.
For that discussion now, I'm joined by Nina Schick, a political commentator and a regular on our airways. Nina, great to have you with us. The
Conservatives are uniting behind the Prime Minister on the government tonight. So, let's step away from the confidence vote, because it feels
like a distraction. What are the options now, for this government?
NINA SCHICK, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well fundamentally, Julia, nothing has changed. There are three potential outcomes. One is a deal, and that
broadly means Theresa May's deal. Because the EU really isn't going to renegotiate it. There is going to be no bespoke new deal. What they could
offer -- if the Conservative Party agrees to it -- is an off the shelf model like Norway or staying in the customs union -- that's the Turkish
CHATTERLEY: Are there numbers there?
SCHICK: But there is no Parliamentary support for either of those. So then you're basically looking at a no deal Brexit, which is the default
option or potentially a remain. So it has to be a deal, no deal, or remain, and as the clock winds down, it has to be one of those three.
CHATTERLEY: OK, so timing, sequencing, there has to be an extension of Article 50. That's the key.
SCHICK: Absolutely. So what I'm hearing from Brussels is that they will give the extension for Article 50. However, the most important thing to
remember is that that extension is a finite lifeline. It cannot be used as a new negotiating period. And will probably come to an end in the summer
when the new European Parliament has to sit. The EU has already made clear that they won't be extending Article 50 at infinite term whilst British
politicians try to figure out what to do. But they will for second referendum or a general election.
CHATTERLEY: To you think the U.K. ultimately ends up leaving the EU, yes or no?
SCHICK: My base case is still that the U.K. will end up leaving either with some version of Theresa May's deal or with the worst type of no deal
Brexit. I think that is more likely than a second referendum and a remain victory.
CHATTERLEY: While, slipping to a no deal exit. We shall see. Nina Schick, thank you very much for that. And that's all from us here in
London. As the heavens open, and the rains pour down. Becky, I'll hand back to you.
ANDERSON: Oh, I'm sorry about that. It never raining but it -- I can't what the term is. It's no good.
Before we go, a reminder of the breaking news for you viewers out of northern Syria, I'm afraid. ISIS says it carried out a deadly bombing that
killed American soldiers. We have extremely disturbing video at the moment the blast set a fireball onto a busy street.
[10:55:04] It's important you see this but if you don't want to, please turn away now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(DEADLY BLAST IN SYRIA VIDEO)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: This happened in Manbij, which is a town patrolled by U.S. and Kurdish troops. And we at present are waiting for details on exactly how
many people have been killed. Just weeks ago, President Donald Trump announced that he would pull U.S. forces out of Syria, saying that ISIS had
I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching, from the team here and those working with Julia in London, and indeed those
working with us all around the world, it's a very good evening.