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Iran Raising Uranium Enrichment Level; How Powerful Is Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps?; Team USA Facing Off With Netherlands; Cables From U.K. Ambassador Slam Trump As Inept, Insecure; More Than Two Million People Without Enough Food; Life Amid The Bombs In Idlib, The Last Rebel Stronghold; Ancient City Of Babylon Becomes UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired July 7, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And we begin with breaking news out of Hong Kong where things are heating up as protesters march in an area

popular with mainland Chinese tourists. They are trying to explain to mainlanders why they oppose the extradition bill that set off the recent

wave of mass demonstrations.

Organizers said 230,000 people attended the latest march. Police put that number at 56,000. We'll keep an eye on this throughout the hour for you as

you would expect. Well, a lot more to get on with. Hello and welcome. You're watching connect with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi.

And we begin this hour with a fresh blow to the landmark Iranian Nuclear Deal. Tehran says it is increasing its level of uranium enrichment

breaking a limit which was set under that 2015 deal with world powers. That's the deal that President Donald Trump called the United States out of

last year, and then, of course, he imposed further sanctions on Iran.

Iranian officials demanding European signatories of the accord do more to shield tech Iran from those sanctions. Meanwhile, Israel urged European

leaders to impose their own sanctions on Tehran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again accusing Tehran of trying to build an atomic bomb.

Well, Nick Paton Walsh has more details on Iran's announcement. He joins us live from London, and Oren Liebermann as the reaction from the Israeli

government he is live for you tonight in Jerusalem. Nick, let's start with you what does this announcement mean in real terms?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this second one is the one that's potentially dangerous the first one in which

they said they breached the stockpile limits for low-grade enriched uranium. Those stuff frankly is useless if you want to bomb. That was

about stepping out of the terms. This is about enriching better than 3.6 percent. They don't specify exactly how much. Let's see what they have to



SEYED ABBAS ARAGHCHI, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, IRAN (through translator): I don't think that specific numbers matter. It depends on the needs of the

Iranian Atomic Energy Organization. It will reach whatever target number based on its need at that time and I don't think assigning a specific

number to the enrichment percentage, I don't think that really matters. What really matters is that we are no longer committed to observing that



WALSH: Now, of course, it matters to what quality they enrich uranium. Of course, it does, but you need to get to 90 percent for a weapon, 20 percent

gets you very close to that. The science between one and the other isn't much but they have been hinting they're only going to go to five percent.

So it may be they're hiding the actual enrichment figure from the public view to sort of not make their threat look so hollow and make the grander

statement of we're leaving terms of the deal again, but we don't know that and that's allowing many of their opponents in the region to speculate,

kind of fill the void if you'd like, with suggestions perhaps that heading more directly towards a nuclear weapon, Becky.

ANDERSON: -- about Iran in what is a fairly dramatic fashion. And today he had we had a lot to say in English at his cabinet meeting. That's

unusual right. What's the significance here?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, normally these cabinet meeting statements are always in Hebrew. And if there's a message

to the international community, it is simply translated which is a straightforward process with the government press office.

Now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn't waste time with the translation. He spoke directly in English and his audience, European

leaders. Here's part of what he had to say this morning.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: The enrichment of uranium is made for one reason and one reason only. It's for the creation of atomic

bombs. The leaders of the P5+1 promised and committed themselves to snapback sanctions the minute Iran did that. They just did. Where are



LIEBERMANN: This is the drumbeat he's kept up for the past months now urging and insisting that European leaders put sanctions on Iran and follow

the lead of President Donald Trump. Netanyahu acknowledged last week that that big essentially presentation he had revealing Iran's secret nuclear

archive that Israel had stolen from Tehran had one reason and one reason alone, and that was to convince Trump to leave the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Netanyahu was, of course, the loudest international opponent against the nuclear deal and he was unashamed of being seen that way. Now that the

U.S. left the deal as we all know well at this point, he now expects Iran to stick to the terms of the deal regardless of the U.S. withdrawal and he

expects the European leaders to stick to the terms of snapback sanctions and that once again is what Netanyahu is calling for at this point, Becky.

[11:05:08] ANDERSON: Yes, Nick, E3, European Three all lining up today. The U.K. tells Iran it must immediately stop and reverse its latest

activities. Germany echoing that and the French president calling for "dialogue" but also warning of consequences to come.

We know Europe would like to keep this deal alive, but Nick, these Iranian threats clearly put the E3 in a difficult position. And that, experts say,

is exactly Iran's intention forcing Europe to play its hand one way or the other.

WALSH: I mean, they're noticeably not giving a clarity view on what the "or else" is if Iran doesn't get back within the terms of the deal.

Remember, Iran wants the Europeans to magic out a way of kind of lessening the impact of U.S. sanctions by enabling some sort of economic benefits to

get through to Iran through a special European mechanism, kind of not really taking into account the fact that anything these European companies

do with Iran jeopardizing potentially their business with the United States.

It's pretty unlikely frankly that Europe's going to come to Iran's economic aid. So what we have here is a slow ratcheting up of the tension here. I

personally think that the Europeans would be quite happy to continue demand Iran gets back within the terms of the deal and we've got two months

frankly until Iran says it's going to do anything else in violation, allow time to elapse, hope everyone calms down in that region for a little while.

It's simply not happening and maybe they can get into the Trump electoral season where he's going to be even less likely to want to stir up conflict

in the Middle East. Again, that may be Europeans simply hoping they can keep this deal on life support until Trump is out of power and then maybe

bring it back to life again.

But I got to tell you, the hardliners here, the ones making the most amount of noise, they're all the ones we've been talking about during the last

five minutes. They're the voice is being heard and they're the ones potentially you could bring this crashing down stumbling into some kind of


It's been a mess the past month, and these kinds of nuclear deal spanned offs escalations do nothing to calm things down. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes. You know, very good point and we are going to pursue that further at this point. To both of you, for the time being, thank you.

When talking about Iran and its politics, you can't escape talking about the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. So what is it and how much power

does it wield in the country? I want to walk you through that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defenders of Iran's borders will get strong and firm responses against any invasion.

ANDERSON: They're Iran's most elite fighters 150,000 battle-ready troops across air land and sea. All to keep this safe the country's Islamic

Revolution set up by its ultimate power its original supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei to protect the regime from the inside out against

threats like Western-inspired coups they've seen before.

But the war with Iraq changing everything. The grueling eight-year in transient blood-soaked battle transforming the IRGC into a much more

conventional outward-looking force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no territorial ambition, not even inside Iraq.

ANDERSON: That's not exactly true. The guards now stomping around the region with simple goals, resist, survive, expand, sending weapons and

people to combatants in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have received moral, political, and material support in all its forms from Iran since 1982.

ANDERSON: The war with Iraq rippling out in other ways after it's the IRGC helping rebuild the country and from there entangling itself across every

part of the economy, banking, shipping, farming oil. A multibillion-dollar conglomerate embedded within one-third of the economy.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: I'm announcing our intent to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist



ANDERSON: The Americans call them terrorists blaming them for years of bombings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iran recognizes the United States as its first enemy.

ANDERSON: But they consider themselves freedom fighters who are in many ways a law unto themselves.


ANDERSON: Well, our next guest says that the U.S. campaign of maximum pressure will only strengthen the Revolutionary Guard. You could call it

maximum resistance, couldn't you? Narges Bajoghli is an Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, author of

Iran Reframed: Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic amongst others. She joins us from Washington.

In order to understand the Revolutionary Guards and its influence, you say you have to understand how the organization has changed over the past

decade. Explain if you will.


understand the Iran's Revolutionary Guard, you have to be able to understand the ways in which politics in Iran has shifted and changed over

the past 30 to 40 years, just like politics anywhere else ships and change over a period of decades like this.

So within Iran, you had a situation in which the Revolutionary Guard after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, he

died in 1989, he put in his will that none of the Iranian military forces including the Revolutionary Guards should be involved in the politics of

the country.

However, because as you pointed out in your segment after the war with Iraq, they became involved in reconstructing the country in the post-war

period. And that made them into a very vastly empowered economic power within the country. And though that, eventually they became involved in

politics as well.

Now, in this time, however, of course, Iran's demographic shift has produced big changes within the country. Today, over 70 percent of the

population is under the age of 40, meaning that they don't remember the revolution in the war very much. They were young at that stage. And so

they have different aspirations for their politics.

And the Revolutionary Guard has while it's become more involved in its politics has needed to respond to this younger population. And the ways

it's done that is it's moving away from some of the founding stories of the Islamic Republic in the early years where it was focusing very much on

religious ideology and it's moving much more towards a nationalist frame.

ANDERSON: Talking about sort of rebranding itself, Narges, you have spent a decade researching the Revolutionary Guard. You probably forgot more

about the most people will know. I want our viewers to see a clip of a new series on Iranian state T.V. It's called (INAUDIBLE) and it portrays the

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers as secret agents who weed out spies and jail corrupt officials and it's meant to be based on true stories

recasting itself you've said is the defender of a new nationalist narrative. Is it trying to rebrand itself through popular culture here?

BAJOGHLI: Yes. I mean, when I -- I've been doing research with the Revolutionary Guards media producers for a decade now. And I've been

tracing how they are messaging what the Islamic Republic is going to stand for, for this young generation. It needs the support of this young

generation in order to be able to survive.

And so one of the things -- you know the spy thriller that you're talking about that's on television today in Iran, it's not their first attempt at

creating a story like this. They did a lot of these sorts of movies especially after the 2009 green movements which was the largest street

demonstrations against the Islamic Republic since the Revolution.

But all of those efforts failed pretty much. None of those movies and TV shows were met with any success. This time, however, is different for a

couple of reasons. One, they've become much more adept at creating a state or state propaganda that is entertaining, and second of all this is a much

higher production value than the other ones. But more importantly than all of that today's political climate in Iran is different than that of 2009.

In 2009, many people who were very frustrated at the Islamic Republic. They remain frustrated. However, because of the actions of the Trump

administration pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and then implementing very harsh sanctions against the country when the Islamic Republic was

actually abiding by the -- by the nuclear deal itself, the climate in Iran today is such that despite all of the frustrations against the ruling

elite, there is much more willingness to accept the fact that there are many countries and entities around the world that are working against Iran.

And that's pretty much the story of the series that you're talking about.

So in this way there are co-opting different forms of popular culture to put out entertaining stories that are in line with their interpretations of

politics and the ways in which international relations run.

ANDERSON: You know, Narges, you wrote in The New York Times opinion piece this pressure from abroad makes it easier for the regime to build domestic

solidarity at home. The Revolutionary Guards understand this and thanks to its rebranding, it's perfectly positioned to exploit it.

So to pick up on what you were just suggesting there, the Trump administration's efforts then you're saying just playing into their

strategy correct?

BAJOGHLI: Right. I mean, this is -- you know, one of the things that the Trump administration's policy seems -- it seems to have two things that it

wants to accomplish. One is to bring Iran back to the negotiation table which at this stage at least Iran has said it's not willing to do.

[11:15:10] And the second really if you listen to the words of people like the National Security Advisor John Bolton and others, it's to sanction the

Iranian economy to the extent whereby it would cause people to come out onto the street and call for regime change.

That's what I'm arguing is very difficult to -- I don't think it's going to happen because as frustrated as people within Iran are with the Islamic

Republic and with the direction of their political leaders have taken both economically and politically, this is a question of the independence and

sovereignty of the nation in the face of U.S. pressure.

And again because of some -- of what you've alluded to in your segment because of the 1953 coup led by the Americans and the British against the

Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh bringing back in the Shah and really supporting and elevating the Shah in the late 1960s and 70s through very

repressive tactics.

Those are things that -- you know, that was what the revolution was about as much as it was about Islamic piety. It was really about the

independence of the country and about creating a country in which foreign intervention did not play a role.

In this way, the Revolutionary Guards is now taking this particular situation, the situation in which Trump has gotten out of the deal in which

they not only have you know, put on things like the Muslim ban which more than anything targets Iranians more than any other country and as well as

suffocating the economy.

These are situations whereby as much frustrations on your -- as Iran Ian's may have with their leadership, this is a situation where the Revolutionary

Guard will come out and say we need to all stand firm behind this because this is about defending the country against foreign intervention. And

that's why I don't foresee regime change from the bottom up happening through sanctions that the United States is imposing.

ANDERSON: Understand. Fascinating. Fantastic having you on. Your insight is invaluable. Thank you.

BAJOGHLI: Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so excited to be here. We played six matches, we won six. We're in the final play against the U.S. We have nothing to

lose, the U.S. has, so I think it's the best position we can be in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: USA, be very afraid. Absolutely. We have great tactics. I think we can beat them.


ANDERSON: Well, it's been called the best Women's World Cup ever. And right now it's all coming to our climax. We are just about a quarter of an

hour into the 90-minute finalists. USA takes on the Netherlands in Lyon. Right now it's still scoreless. Both teams are champions in their own

right. The USA battling to defend its World Cup title and the Netherlands are the European champions fighting in only their second-ever World Cup.

Can they toppled the world's top-ranked team? Well, CNN's Polo Sandoval is live for us among Team USA fans at a viewing party in New York. And I am

sure that those gathered there with you certainly are confident that the USA can do this, right?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, if you're in Brooklyn, you don't have to be watching the game to know when the Women's USA Team scores, all

you had to do is listen for the loud cheers that are echoing from this archway. This is directly under New York's iconic Manhattan Bridge.

A sea of people are gathering here, many of them sporting their red white and blue. We are in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood. That's down over the

Manhattan bridge overpass. People have been camped out here for many hours, Becky, just to be able to root on their team, watching the gameplay

out on a big screen.

In this sea of people, we found one diehard fan out of many, many, many Aly from Jersey. I want you to meet Aly from New Jersey, Becky.

Ali, we're live on CNN International. A few minutes of the game already, (INAUDIBLE).

ALY BERKOWITZ, FAN OF TEAM USA: I mean, it's always so exciting watching these girls play. I mean, it's a little nerve-wracking right now but I

mean, I believe in them as a team. I've always believed in them so I'm excited for this.

SANDOVAL: It's amazing the movement that we have seen year after year (INAUDIBLE) and now a potential of it. Tell me about this movement that

you have seen not just here in the U.S. but around the world routing on this team.

BERKOWITZ: I mean, it's awesome. Growing up playing soccer like it's -- I mean, I've seen it grow from being something that wasn't so supported to be

in -- I mean, it's great to see it now.

SANDOVAL: Aly, it's obviously a bit of a nail-biter so far. Talk to us about the opposing team here. What do USA fans have to worry about? Is it

that (INAUDIBLE) from the Netherlands from the (INAUDIBLE)? Is it that diehard determination from the opposing team? What are you most worried

about tonight?

[11:20:10] BERKOWITZ: They're fast, they're determined, they want to beat us. I mean, we've got a target on our backs but I think we can rise to

that occasion.

SANDOVAL: Aly, you're so generous with your -- with your time. I would let you get back to enjoying the game. Thanks so much.

BERKOWITZ: Thank you.



SANDOVAL: Becky, that's the -- that's the scene right now here in Brooklyn in New York City. You clearly know who this crowd is rooting for and

again, all you have to do is hear for the bench here to listen for the big cheers from the archway every time the U.S. team advances. Back to you.

ANDERSON: What an atmosphere. Polo, thank you. We can hardly hear you but understandably so because the atmosphere there clearly absolutely



ANDERSON: We're going to be nonpartisan here on which -- oh, it sounds like something's going on. I was going to say I wish both teams the best

of luck. We'll keep up with it. Thanks, Polo. Well, they're not the only women absolutely on fire in sports right now. The world's most famous

tennis tournament is been sort of -- it's been all about the 15-year-old teen star Cori "Coco" Gauff in Wimbledon singles play. But that success

couldn't carry over to mixed doubles on Saturday. (INAUDIBLE) partners have a crushing defeat. It has to be said in the first round, two sets to


But Gauff will try to bounce back Monday which she returns to singles action. Tennis legend Serena Williams who won a mixed doubles open had

some words of encouragement for her.


SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: Gosh, I just couldn't feel more proud. I would be -- I would be wrong to step in right now and give her advice. I

think she's doing great.


ANDERSON: Good for you. Still to come.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go. Let's go. So based on what they're hearing, one plane came by and dropped four bombs.


ANDERSON: Well, an absolute nightmare that is already playing out in Syria's Idlib could soon get a lot worse. Arwa Damon gains rare access to

the rebel-held province. Plus, a mix of good and bad news for U.S. President Donald Trump. His approval ratings are reaching new highs but

leaked memos show what the British ambassador to the United States really thinks of him and it's not flattering.

And stay with us. Baby Archie's closely guarded christening frustrating fans. The photos we did get to see and more. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: All right, U.S. President Donald Trump woke up this morning to some good news and some well, not so great news. Let's start with the bad.

The leaked dispatches from Britain's Ambassador to the U.S. are making the rounds they are largely filled with sharp criticism. One does praise

Trump's ability to weather scandal "Trump may emerge from the flames battered but intact, like Schwarzenegger in the final scenes of the


Let's get to our reporters on this. Anna Stewart joining me from London, Sara Westwood joins me from New Jersey where the president is spending the

weekend at one of his golf clubs. Let's start with the bad news first. Anna, some choice words from Britain's man in Washington. We weren't

supposed to know what the U.K. ambassador to the U.S. thinks of the U.S. president but we do know. Tell us how and what he said.

[11:25:52] ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: So these were memos that date from 2017 right up into the present day, and they were leaked in a British

newspaper The Daily Mail. Now, the British government have not denied the accuracy of these memos and we have a source that's told CNN that they are

indeed accurate.

Now they are highly damning as you just said of the present and of the White House. There are plenty little nuggets to choose from but I bring

you one and where the Ambassador writes, we really don't believe that this administration is going to become substantially more normal, less

dysfunctional, less unpredictable, less faction-riven, less diplomatically clumsy and inept.

That is one of many. And of course the Daily Mail round with it in their Sunday edition today and it must be hard for them to pick one nugget for a

headline. They've gone for our man in U.S. says Trump is inept.

Some of the memos delve more specifically on policy. So for instance, on Iran he writes that the U.S. policy is incoherent and is unlikely to

improve. He actually challenges the president's claimed that he aborted a missile strike on Iran at the last minute. He says that account doesn't

stand up.

He talks about the alleged links between the President and Russia. He says the worst cannot be ruled out and it could result in the presidency

crashing and burning. The British government, of course, will be understandably embarrassed by all of this. But in a statement, they do

seem to be supporting the Ambassador.

Let me read that to you. They say the British public would expect our ambassadors provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the

politics in their country. Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government but we pay them to be candid just as the

U.S. ambassador here will send back his reading of Westminster politics and personalities.

And Becky, this is the problem. We have plenty of politics and personalities here in the U.K. amidst Brexit during a massive leadership

context for the next prime minister. The U.K. has been on a diplomatic drive to strengthen relationships with the United States. They've just had

a state visit from the president and then this lands.

ANDERSON: Well, it's past 11:00 in the morning, Sara. No reaction on the U.S. President's favorite platform that Twitter. One assumes then that the

latest approval ratings may have just got him over hearing about what the U.K. ambassador thinks of him and got him through his breakfast it into his

next round of golf right?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. President Trump not reacting to those diplomatic cable leaks but there could be some good news

for the president in this new ABC News Washington Post polling which shows that his overall approval rating has climbed to five points just since


This new poll shows him with a 44 percent overall approval rating up from 39 percent in April. And voters give him high marks when it comes to his

handling of the economy. That's the issue that they rate the President most highly on in terms of how he's dealt with it. 51 percent a slight

majority of voters believe that he's handled the economy well.

They don't think that he's handled the issue of climate change well, however. That's his lowest-rated issue in terms of how he's dealt with it,

just 29 percent of voters think he's done well there. This poll was conducted as the president was in Japan attending the G20 leader -- G20

meeting in Japan meeting with world leaders right at -- right before he made that historic stop in the Demilitarized Zone.

But even though that was the backdrop, his handling of foreign policy Becky didn't get as high of a rating just 40 percent of voters approve of his

handling a foreign policy.

ANDERSON: Sarah is in New Jersey, Anna is in London, thank you. U.S. First Lady Melania Trump known for her fine sense of style isn't she? So

look quite sure how she will react to this rather unique statue of her. See the resemblance? Well, the life-size statues got near her hometown in

Slovenia. An American artist commissioned the local sculptor to carve it out of a tree. Reactions being mixed with some wondering if it's well,

meant to be a parody.

[11:30:02] Make of that what you will. Coming up, the worst humanitarian crisis you may never have heard of.



have 60 percent of the population that can't meet its daily needs in terms of food, water, shelter --


ANDERSON: Ahead, why the people in the Central African Republic desperately need our attention.

And once among the seven wonders of the ancient world, dynasties have risen and fallen, here now. This place has been afforded a very special status.

We're going to tell you all about that. Coming up this hour.

Plus, royal frustration. All fans want is just a glimpse of the U.K.'s newest royal baby, Archie. We'll tell you what Prince Harry and Meghan

Markle did let them see.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. And if you're just joining us, you are more than welcome. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson, and we are

broadcasting from our Middle East hub here in the UAE.

More news in a moment. First, we're going to get you the very latest from the Women's World Cup final. Well, that's news. Defending champs, team

USA taking on the Netherlands. They're about 30 minutes or so into the match right now. So far, it's scoreless. If that changes, we will get you

bang up to date.

Now, the latest news on the crumbling 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Tehran indicating it's no longer in compliance with uranium. Enrichment camps

ramping up enrichment beyond the purity threshold it had agreed to.

Iran isn't giving specifics on the new enrichment levels but says they will be based on the nation's needs. Now, the E.U., France, and others are

expressing extreme concern. We've been on that story this hour. We will continue to track it for you.

Two million people without enough food and more than a third of children suffering from chronic malnutrition. That is according to World Food

Programme, I'm not talking about Yemen or Syria. I'm talking about the Central African Republic.

A landlocked country that has had years of war and political turmoil. And even though the government signed a peace deal with armed militia in

February, people are still suffering the effects of conflicts. CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward was there last month.


[11:35:54] CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is the worst humanitarian crisis you have never heard of. Half the people of the

Central African Republic don't know where their next meal is coming from. Nearly six years of vicious conflict involving Muslim and Christian

militias have forced a million people from their homes. Some of them sought shelter here in a sprawling overcrowded camp in the town of Bria.

There are 65,000 people now living in this camp. They came to escape the bloodshed of the different warring militias in this country. But even

here, even now, the situation is tense. As you can see, we have armed guards with us at all times.


ANDERSON: That's Clarissa Ward's reporting. CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Nima Elbagir has just come back from the Central African

Republic. She joins us live from New York.

It's been nearly six months, Nima, since a peace deal was signed. And yet there are still reports of violence -- significant reports of violence.

How bad is it there for people?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, where we were Becky, it was at the highest security threat level of five. But not just

six months since the peace deal but three months since the U.N. announced that this was the worst place in the world to be a child. And now, Becky,

they're issuing a desperate cry for help. Saying that these children needs support from the international community and they need it now. Take a look

at this.


BROWN: We are stuck at step one. We have support from the international community. We are able to reach about a million people a month. But we

are 60 percent of the population that can't meet its daily needs in terms of food, water, shelter, working opportunities. So, we don't have enough

money to move beyond step one. It's like we're stuck there.

ELBAGIR: How much you underfunded by?

BROWN: We're underfunded right now by 70 percent.

EBAGIR: Seventy percent.

BROWN: Seventy percent, it's a lot. So, you know, it's a question of how much funding you get. But if you get it too late, then you're also not

helping people. Right? So, we need to have funding at the right level at the right time. And that's predictable so that we can plan ahead and know

what we're doing.

This country is surrounded by seven countries. And so, getting here is very difficult. So, providing humanitarian assistance takes months. So,

for waiting to the last minute each time for that donation, for that contribution, we are always, always running behind.

ELBAGIR: What happens if you don't get what you need funding lies?

BROWN: Listen, I was in a place called, Demio all week on the southeastern border of the country. Where people don't have access to health care.

Where children are suffering from malnutrition. Where both Christian and Muslim communities don't have enough to eat and don't have a proper place

to sleep. Unless we can provide regular predictable assistance the way everybody wants to live.

You know, we're talking about basics, and we will see -- we will see a significant deterioration in the lives of these people who are basically

the victims of conflict.

ELBAGIR: We were up in (INAUDIBLE) and we were able to see for ourselves how divided these communities still are. There is almost in a U.N.

overseen front line between the Muslim communities and the Christian communities. And the peace deal is pretty shaky.

BROWN: You know, the peace agreement is the last hope for this country. We need to manage the armed groups of this country. There's a huge number

of young people in this -- in this country who don't have access to proper education or proper employment. And one young man told me, if we don't get

assistance we will turn to the armed groups. They are the largest employer in this country.

ELBAGIR: What would your message be to the world?

[11:39:58] BROWN: There are over four million people in this country who have suffered the effects of a conflict which they didn't create, which

have honestly made their lives totally miserable. People in this country lived without dignity. To spare a thought for those people and talk to

others about it.

I'm not talking about charity here, I'm talking about responsibility that we all have to help our neighbors.


ELBAGIR: And it's not just, of course, the U.N. Becky that has to make these difficult decisions, it's parents that also have to make

extraordinarily heartbreaking decisions, which child to feed, which child goes hungry tonight. Unless the international community meets their


ANDERSON: If this peace deal is the last hope, then what will it take to make it work?

ELBAGIR: For the world to remember that the Central African Republic exists, this is a country that was pulled back from the brink of genocide.

Just five years ago, we were there reporting on the fact that Christian communities were facing horrible sectarian violence from armed Muslim


And the world stepped in at the last minute and pulled this country back from that horror. Similar to that which we saw unfold in Iran that again,

we're hearing the same kind of alarm bells ringing, Becky and the world, for now, isn't taking heed.

ANDERSON: Nima, thank you. Nima is in New York for you today, just back from the Central African Republic. More from the humanitarian crisis there

to the -- well, to the one in Syria.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hassam tells us, they came to their field one morning only to find it in flames.

When we asked about his feelings, he turns and walks away.


ANDERSON: Arwa Damon shares the horrifying reality for Syrians struggling to stay alive in Idlib. Our report follows this.


ANDERSON: This is supposed to be a demilitarized zone. The bombs keep falling in Syria's Idlib province. This video purportedly shows the moment

of barrel bomb was dropped from a helicopter on the city of Khan Shaykun, a few days ago.

Over the weekend, several strikes were launched around Idlib. UNICEF tells CNN one of the most deadly attacks you'll see in the aftermath here killed

seven children.

Well, since May, the government offensive has killed more than 500 civilians around Idlib, and the region now teetering on the brink of

something that could be much, much worse. Turkish, Russian, and Iranian leaders are set to discuss the situation in August. And as CNN's Arwa

Damon finds out a path towards peace can't come soon enough for the people living there.

Before you see Arwa's reporting, please know that you may find some of the images in this report upsetting.


TEXT: The fighter jet is above Jabal al-Zawiya.

[11:45:08] DAMON: There's barely enough of a love for Abu Bakr to talk to us.

TEXT: Sukhoi 22, MiG 23, Sukhoi 22 from Homs in the same area. Warning to all cities and all areas, fighter jet warning.

DAMON: He hit the village, Abu Bakr, tells us, relaying what he just heard on the pilot frequency.

Abu Bakr, a former communications officer during his Syrian military service cobbled together this rudimentary setup to spy on the regime's

radio frequencies.

"This one, we modified it to hear the strikes, the pilots," he explains. Describing how he uses that information and what spotters on the ground

send in to warn people and rescue teams over the walkie talkie radios many now carry. There is no other way to protect the population.

Riza call on the radio about a plane. They're getting calls now on the radio.

These guys in southern Idlib Province, the last rebel's stronghold, feel like they are constantly filled with the menacing war of Syrian regime and

Russian fighter jets.

DAMON: Let's go, (INAUDIBLE), let's go.

So, based on what they're hearing, one plane came by and dropped four bombs. Sometimes, there's 12 planes at a time that are overhead.

Life, if it can even be called that, is dictated by the bombs.

Early morning lulls mean that the farmers can head out.

He says a barrel bomb fell over here.

Hassan tells us they came to their field one morning only to find it in flames. When we ask about his feelings, he turns and walks away.

DAMON: It's not just about the loss of this year's harvest, it's the overwhelming realization of the price they are paying. The scorched earth

campaign repeatedly targeting Idlib's agriculture, ensuring that people will have nothing to return to if they ever even can.

The bombings have crushed even more people up against Turkey's border. Over the last few months, hundreds of thousands have fled. There's no room

left at the main camps in the province. They cluster under the olive trees in makeshift shelters, even giving birth here.

Or as 88-year-old Maryam tells us, wishing she'd been killed rather than live out the last of her days like this where she doesn't even have a tent.

Some do venture back south to collect what they've left behind. Their towns and villages mostly abandoned, turned into the front lines. Trenches

are being dug, preparations for a ground war between the regime and hard- core rebel fighters.

In other towns previously bombed, shops reopen under the ruins, an act of sheer defiance or perhaps folly as jets despite Russian and regime denials

regularly target markets, bakeries, schools, and hospitals.

DAMON: Right, there's an ambulance coming in.

DAMON: People wounded are rushed into this hospital, the only functioning one in the area. The strike was close by, raising fears that the hospital

itself could be targeted again. It's already been hit multiple times before.

Another victim from another bombing is already undergoing surgery, while others in the ICU cling to life.

DAMON: He just opened his eyes for the first time about 10 minutes ago after three days of no response.

"My message is, 'help us, that's it," Dr. Basil al-Ahmur says. "We're human beings."

Ranaa thought she would be able to keep her children safe. They fled their home to another village, but it wasn't far enough. Her son's face etched

with wounds, hers with a mother's pain too deep for words.

He was pulled out from under the rubble, but two of her other children, they were killed. One was nine and one was 5-1/2, she tells us, unable to

say more.

In the same room, Butayna looks on helplessly at her son, just four years old, injured in the same strikes that day.

Humanitarian organizations are warning Syria is on the brink of a nightmare. Those who are living it will tell you that, that nightmare

began a long time ago. What they're about to enter is an even darker realm, one that defies logic and imagination.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Idlib Province, Syria.



[11:52:09] ANDERSON: Right. We've got two "PARTING SHOTS" for you today. Very ancient and very modern. Royals, that is. Just before the break, we

were looking at destruction in one of this region's oldest cities, but here's a positive news coming from the region. And there's absolutely a

lot of it.

There's more to the Middle East and death and rubble, I promise you. Now, ancient Babylon believed to once have been the largest city on earth

getting the protection it needs after years in the crosshairs of conflict.

The U.N. officially designating it as a World Heritage Site. Access to the ruins in modern-day Iraq is rare. But CNN's Ben Wedeman managed to visit

in 2015. Have a listen to this.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Curious hybrid, part crumbling ruins, part hastily built backdrop to Saddam's megalomania. He

styled himself the reincarnation of the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar II. Building a hill overlooking Babylon and on the hill of palace, so he could

bask in Iraq's glorious distant past.

Saddam tried to claim Babylon as his own. ISIS would simply destroy it if it could. They haven't reached Babylon, but the war has sucked away money

from the effort to preserve it, says archeologist, Hadi Musa.

HADI MUSA, STATE BOARD OF ANTIQUITIES AND HERITAGES, IRAQ: That same to our government and local government. This is the reality. No money.

WEDEMAN: No money.

MUSA: No support.

WEDEMAN: Excavations began here in the 1800s, interrupted by one war after another. As a result, some areas of the site have long been neglected.

JEFF ALLEN, FIELD MANAGER, FUTURE OF BABYLON PROJECT: We're looking at the remains of the tower of Babylon. What you see today is all that's left of

a very large and tall tower.

WEDEMAN: And others untouched for years.


ANDERSON: Modern day Iraq, yes, but once Mesopotamia. Nowadays, Iraq's government says the new UNESCO designation will help with much-needed

conservation efforts and hopes it will bring more tourists to the site.

Well, from ancient Royals to modern ones into others. Tonight's other parting shots for you.

Some fans of the British royals who flocked to Windsor, England on Saturday. Well, well, very little disappointed, I'm afraid, as new parents

Harry and Meghan, once again shielded baby Archie from the spotlights.

Royal baptisms have for traditionally being kept private. But in recent years, cameras have been allowed, to at least, capture the families

arrivals. Some fans frustrated that a member of the royal family, Prince Harry, isn't giving them a little bit more.


[11:55:03] ANNE TALEY, ROYALS FAN FROM CARDIFF, WALES: He's throwing this crumbs. We've had the figures we've, had the toes, when are we ever going

to see the baby?


ANDERSON: No, it doesn't help that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex just spent $3 million of taxpayer's money on renovating their new home at

Frogmore Cottage. The family did release these photos a few hours after the ceremony. Finally, where the clear shot of baby Archie's face, seventh

in line to the throne. Archie Harrison wore a replica of the royal christening robe rigidly made in 1841 for Queen Victoria. And we still

don't know whose godparents are, in case you were wondering.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching, from the team working with me here and those working with us around the

world. It is a very good evening from Abu Dhabi. CNN, of course, continues after this. So, don't go away.