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Arpaio Endorsing Trump; Man Arrested for Paris Bombing; Cisco CEO: Serious Rhetoric Coming from Both Parties; FlyDubai Plane Crash in Russia Kills All 63 Aboard; The Human Targets of ISIS' Brutal Genocide. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 19, 2016 - 16:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Poppy Harlow. Thank you for joining us.

We begin with Donald Trump who wrapped up a rally in Arizona. He spoke largely today about immigration, he did slam his chief rival, Senator Ted Cruz saying "evangelicals do not like liars." Earlier, anti-Trump protesters blocked the road, a big part of the road, leading to the event. Three we arrested. Trump was introduced by (INAUDIBLE) county Sheriff Joe Arpaio who praised the billionaire businessman proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Listen.


SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: From day one, I knew this was the guy. He said he's going to build a wall, yes, it's going to be built. I'll tell you what. If they don't pay for that wall, then we should take away their foreign aid in Mexico. Then they'll pay.


HARLOW: Jeremy Diamond is there at the event. Stephanie Elam as well who is with the protestors. Jeremy, to you first. Obviously, big cheers for him. Anything new reveal from Donald Trump in terms of his stance on immigration today?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Nothing new here, Poppy, but certainly Donald Trump did talk about immigration here today. He did though begin talking about the establishment saying the establishment has no clue. Classic line from Donald Trump railing against the establishment, positioning himself as the outsider, lobbed attacks against Mitt Romney saying that he choked like a dog in the 2012 election. But of course Romney is simply a vehicle in some ways to attack his rivals, John Kasich and Ted Cruz. He revived an old line of attack against Ted Cruz. Listen in.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ted Cruz, can you believe it? He wasn't born in our country, folks. He was born in Canada. He's weak on immigration, he's in favor of amnesty. You know, lying Ted. We call him lying Ted. Lying Ted. So lying Ted comes up with the bible high and he's going with the bible. He puts it down and he starts lying.


DIAMOND: And there you have Donald Trump talking about Ted Cruz, of course Ted Cruz and John Kasich are actually in Utah today - they're campaigning there. That's the second state in addition to Arizona that is going to be voting on Tuesday. Certainly Donald Trump here today had thousands of cheering supporters. Certainly a welcome that he was glad to receive just ahead of the primary in this state on Tuesday. Poppy.

HARLOW: And to you, Stephanie. Some of these protesters did succeed in sort of delaying the event, Donald Trump referenced it a little at the beginning. Blocking miles of traffic there. What were they saying about their goal in doing that? What is their main complaint with Trump?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think what you saw here, Poppy, a lot of people who just want to have their voices heard. You heard people who said that they wanted to say that love Trump's hate, people holding up signs that said that, coming up just to have their voices heard as well.

But what was interesting here and I'm going to turn to show you. The event is over but I want to show you how far back the protesters were. This is where you also had protesters. You see that flag out in the distance, that's going out to where Donald Trump was speaking so they made a great effort to keep the people who are protesting further away at this event. There were people who were getting into it with each other here.

But for the most part it was not the dramatic scuffles that I've seen and we've seen in some of these other cities. But he does enjoy great support here in Arizona but there are a lot of people who did make the big drive, it's about 30 miles away from Phoenix, to get out here to have their voices heard and to protest the messages that they believe Donald Trump is sharing what they call hate.

HARLOW: Stephanie Elam, with the protesters, thank you very much. Jeremy Diamond, where that rally just wrapped up. We appreciate it. Let's talk more about this.

Trump's (INAUDIBLE) Jeffrey Lord is with us. He is the former White House director for President Reagan, also with me Bakari Sellers, former South Carolina House of Representative congressman and also a big supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Gentlemen, thank you both for being here. It's interesting because Bernie Sanders is in Arizona, right at the border, you saw the border fence behind him. He took a not so veiled shot at Donald Trump when he spoke a little earlier. Let's listen.


BERNIE SANDERS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To insult an entire nation is not befitting of anybody let alone a candidate for president of the United States. Our job as always is to bring people together, not drive them apart.


HARLOW: Let me start with you, Bakari, you are a big Hillary Clinton supporter. She is not on the trail today. Bernie Sanders is not only on the trail but he is very visibly at the border. This is all ahead obviously of the big contest on Tuesday, namely for him there Arizona. Are you concerned we're not seeing Clinton, hearing from her today on this?

BAKARI SELLERS, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: Not at all. I do have to say that I and most democrats agree with Bernie Sanders in his message about Trump's divisive rhetoric especially when it comes to immigrants and classifications of all Mexicans as racists and we an go on and on but by no means, Hillary Clinton is going to be campaigning in Arizona on Monday.


Beginning Monday and moving forward on that west coast swing. But no, I mean I think our message is heard loud and clear. I think that her track record on immigration is one that she can stand strong on. Bernie Sanders has some issues to overcome with Hispanic voters. We'll see what happens on Tuesday.

HARLOW: Jeffrey, as a big Trump supporter let me ask you this. Because he is running on this platform of bring jobs back to America. Whether he is bashing free trade deals, whether he is talking about what he would do with 11 million plus undocumented workers in this country, that's the platform he's running on.

When you look at, for example, his business, Maralago, the club in Florida, you know well, they hire seasonal workers, almost all of them are foreign workers, 250 seasonal positions. Four of them were filled with American workers. And this is not from one side or the other. This is from the U.S. Department of Labor telling CNN that about 2013 and 2015. What does he say to that?

JEFFREY LORD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: You know, I'm sure he draws from the available pool of workers. I mean that's what you have to do if you're in business anywhere in America or for that matter anywhere in the world.

HARLOW: He does come out and say that it's, "almost impossible to get help." But that's not what our Drew Griffin found investigating this. Talking to workers in the area, talking to the local labor departments.

LORD: Well, you know, I am not - the inside guy on all of the ins and outs of Donald Trump's businesses. But I assure you that I mean, if there were a pool there that he could draw from, that he felt he could draw from of qualified people for all Americans, he probably would do so.

HARLOW: But don't you think that's a problem -- that's a representative problem, Jeffrey, when you're running on one platform and one of your businesses is operating this way?

LORD: Poppy, you're going to have this with every single candidate whose got this or that, Mrs. Clinton, for example, was railing against Wall Street and yet she goes to Wall Street and takes all this money from giving speeches, speeches which she won't release. So I suspect every candidate has some version of a problem like this where people will say you're being inconsistent.

The overall point here is the policy at issue. I have no doubt that if Donald Trump were president he would try and fix the policy.

HARLOW: Bakari, when you - a, if you want to respond there to what Jeffrey Lord said about your candidate. I'm wondering specifically on immigration so the message that you think Hillary Clinton has to bring to Arizona to try to counter first Sanders in Arizona, then if she makes it to the general, how to counter if it is Donald Trump on immigration. How to do that successfully.

SELLERS: Well, I think the first one is a lot more difficult than the second one. I think the discussion that she and Bernie Sanders are going to have, one that centers on compassion and empathy is a discussion that this country wants to hear in dealing with our immigration crisis. I think that Bernie Sanders his 2007, I believe, interview with Lou Dobbs and some of his statements in vote against immigration bill are going to come back to hurt him. We're looking forward to November as well.

HARLOW: He also pointed out a number of Latino groups voted against that same 2007 legislation.

SELLERS: But to actually say that that 2007 legislation was akin to slavery is intellectually disingenuous at best. It was a Ted Kennedy bill. I hear that but that's empty rhetoric. We're pivoting - as we pivot towards November, I don't think there's going to be any trouble with Hillary Clinton on this issue of immigration versus Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has the highest unfavorable among Hispanic voters that we've seen in the history of this country. Hispanic voters, voters of color, from all parts are looking forward to beating back Donald Trump's xenophobia. So I look forward to November.

HARLOW: Do you think those Hispanic voters tip the balance in a general, Bakari?

SELLERS: There's no doubt about it. In fact, what Barack Obama taught us in 2008 and 2012 is that there is a new coalition of voters, that Obama coalition is very real. We have to remember that Barack Obama didn't set 271 electoral votes in 2012. It wasn't close. He got 332. A lot of those voters consisted of Hispanic and that number is going to turn out, thanks to the rhetoric of people like Donald Trump.

HARLOW: Jeffrey, quickly, what are you going to do about that, the Hispanic vote? LORD: Well, first of all, what Bakari has said right there is the age

old democratic party philosophy that again began with slavery. Appeal to people on the basis of their race. I think it's wrong, Donald Trump thinks it's wrong. And I think he will be appealing to people of all races based on his policies and as Americans.

HARLOW: Jeffrey Lord, Bakari, stay with me. Much more ahead from you.

I do need to get a break in here.

Coming up a lot of news ahead this hour.


The most wanted man in Europe behind bars, now what does the arrest of the suspect in the Paris terror attack mean, and the broader fight against ISIS. He is now talking to authorities, revealing critical information. We'll take you live to Belgium, next.


HARLOW: The final suspect in the horrific Paris terror attacks that took the lives of 130 people in November has been captured. This man Salah Abdeslam now charged and being questioned by authorities in Belgium after this broke out yesterday.

He was captured in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek after engaging in what turned out to be a ferocious gun battle with authorities. For four months he has evaded them on what has become a global manhunt from Belgium to Syria. But it turns out he was found right in the neighborhood where they originally started searching for him.

Joining us from Molenbeek tonight, senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir. It's incredible how he was able to basically hide in plain sight. Clearly he must have had the help of friends, others protecting him, is he speaking, is he giving any material information to the authorities tonight?

NIMA ELBARGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, as you point out poppy, even just the circumstances surrounding his arrest are giving authorities key information about the reality of this network and how rooted clearly it is than they had ever expected.

But he's also today speaking and giving them a chilling insight really, into the intricacies of this conspiracy, investigators characterize his description as placing him as central really to the planning around the Paris attacks, that he deployed what they're calling the commando teams. That he rented that ferried the attackers, that he was supposed to they say, he admits, blow himself up at the (INAUDIBLE) but he didn't.


He says he changed his mind and that really is what authorities are trying to pin down why. What changed in the thinking of this network. Is this as simple as a change of heart as he's putting it, or what changed about the broader plan itself. And for the authorities, this isn't just about working backwards and unraveling and really giving much needed respite to the families of the victims, it's also a race against time.

Interpol have already warned that there needs to be absolute vigilance at all of the Eeuropean borders because of the concern that this capture and the fear, the shockwaves, it will have set through the broader network could be flushing out desperate militants. Poppy.

HARLOW: No question about it. Appreciate the reporting tonight, Nema, live for us in Molenbeek, Belgium.

Coming up next, four words helped launch Bill Clinton to a White House win in '92. It's the economy, stupid. Just this week, the U.S. Federal Reserve warned that the U.S. economy could be in a lot of trouble this year. Could that hurt Hillary Clinton who has tied her own campaign to President Obama and her run for the White House? Could it help Republicans who say the economy really isn't in great shape. We'll debate next.



HARLOW: It's the economy, stupid. You remember that line? It was the strategy that propelled then Governor Bill Clinton to end 12 years of Republican rule in the White House. Nearly a quarter century later could the economy be Hillary Clinton's undoing in November?

This week the U.S. Federal Reserve cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year, both Senator Bernie Sanders and the eventual Republican nominee have been demanding an overhaul of what this current administration has done with the economy.

Hillary Clinton who served as secretary of state under President Obama, she's embraced his economic platform so she is much more likely to be tied to both the successes and the failures of the Obama economy. Let's talk about it all with CNN global economic analyst, Rana Foroohar. She is also author of the new book "Makers and Takers, the Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business."

Also back with me CNN commentators Bakari Sellers who supports Clinton and Jeffrey Lord who is backing Donald Trump.

Rana, let me begin with you. It's one thing for Republican opponents to claim that the U.S. is in trouble under this administration, that the economy will be so much better with a Republican in the White House. It's quite another for the Fed to come out and say actually, 2016 is not looking so great. What are the main things you think could shake voters' confidence come November?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, it's really interesting. Because the head winds right now to economic growth are coming from abroad so in a way there's not a lot that any one here at home can do about it. There are problems in China, they are struggling with a debt crisis. There is a debt crisis in Europe. They've got the migrant crisis that they're dealing with, so all of those things are contributing to slower growth her, at home.

That's one of the important reasons why the Fed downgraded. Can the president do much about that right now? Probably not.

HARLOW: That is a critical question. Rana, is there anything - whoever the president is, can really do when you look at these headwinds from China, for example. I mean, Trump take this hard line stance on China, he talks over and over again about currency manipulation but in reality give us the reality check of what he could do.

FOROOHAR: OK. For starters you know, China has not stolen all of our jobs. Yes, there have been issues with China devaluing its currency for competitive reasons. A lot of countries do that. Really, what's happening there is something that would be happening regardless of what trade policy here at home was.

I think that the bigger question is you've had basically two decades now of stagnant wage growth for a lot of Americans. So there are people that have been feeling even throughout this recovery the last few years, they don't feel things are getting better. Now if they get a little worse this summer, as the Fed and others are thinking that they might be, the question is will that tip folks over into thinking hey, maybe Hillary Clinton doesn't have the economic answers that we thought. Maybe some will think more about -

HARLOW: The blue collar typically democratic workers who may tip in favor of Donald Trump that we've been hearing so much from.

Bakari, to you, I want to look at this exit poll - just one example of a number of these. This is from the North Carolina Democratic primary. When people were asked if the they were worried about the U.S. economy, 52 percent of those democratic voters said they were very worried, 41 percent said they were somewhat worried, of those who were very worried, a slim majority did vote for Hillary Clinton.

If the economy is slowing down as the Fed is warning, do you think that your candidate Hillary Clinton might have to step back a little bit from the Obama economy, say here is what I would do differently?

SELLERS: I think your premise is false, Poppy and I have to push back a little bit because you just can't lump the economy as one granular or one singular focus. In fact, we're in the largest streak of private sector job growth in the history of this country. We cut the unemployment rate in half. And you've seen 14 million jobs created under Barack Obama. Nearly triple that of George W. Bush. So yes, it's one of the things that people are feeling in their pockets is the fact that wages have not increased.

HARLOW: Right.

SELLERS: However, the economy as a whole is not something that's abysmal or abysmal or anything else and Barack Obama is not going to be an anchor around her neck. Because contrary to that poll what you also see, the new Gallup poll with Barack Obama with a 51 percent approval rating. And so what we look forward as we go into the summer, and in the fall, what you have, you'll have two candidates, you have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

What people are going to realize is Donald Trump absolutely has no plans to do anything and he's coming off four bankruptcies himself so how is he going to fix the economy, stupid.

HARLOW: So Jeffrey, to that point I mean you just have to look at some of these numbers, unemployment as Bakari said it's below five percent, gas is incredibly cheap, the stock market is 10,000 points higher than it was when President Obama took office. What is the metric on which you think Donald Trump can run on in a general to say I will drastically improve x?

LORD: First of all, that unemployment figure does not count the at least by the Department of Labor's own numbers, the 96 million people who stopped looking for work.

HARLOW: That's true. But it's also not 42 percent as Donald Trump recently said.


LORD: Well, but 96 million people is a lot of people, Poppy. And there is a lot of anger here, and I would suggest, you know, to pull back from all of the personalities in this, when you are a candidate of either party and you are defending a record of eight years, there is a natural inclination for change. And if people are unhappy with the economy, then that is all the more driving the message for whomever, Donald Trump or anyone else who becomes the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton is the prospective nominee is going to have to play defense here. It's a tough, tough role to play-

HARLOW: What is the number one thing, Jeffrey? What is the number one thing that Donald Trump will say I can do x better for your pocket book?

LORD: Certainly jobs. I mean he is a job producer all by himself. He has employed thousands and thousands of people. I mean, she has never done this in her life. So of course, of course that's what it would be.

HARLOW: Jeffrey lord, Bakari Sellers -

LORD: I might add.

HARLOW: Rana Fahoor.

LORD: One last thing. Ronald Reagan created 21 million jobs. Barack Obama has a long way to go.

HARLOW: Thank you very much. Appreciate your time. Got to leave it there, guys. We'll have this debate many more times before November. I promise you. I do want to point all of our viewers to a really big event happening Monday night. The five remaining candidates for president all on CNN Monday night in a prime time event, they will join our Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer for the same night Monday night, on CNN, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, stay with us for that.

Coming up next, the Republican CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world weighs in on the race for the White House.


UNIDENTIFED MALE: I think what we ultimately need is a leader who will bring the sides together and actually begin to solve problems that people care about.


HARLOW: So who is this self-described centrist Republican backing? His answer might surprise you next.


HARLOW: In what may be considered a bit of an unexpected turn the Republican CEO of one of the biggest tech companies in the world says that this election is bigger than party lines, and he may end up voting for a democrat for the White House.

[16:30:02] In a wide-ranging interview this week, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins told me he's not thinking about this election along party lines. He says the next president must be someone who, quote, "brings this country together". Let's look.


HARLOW: You call yourself a centrist Republican. What do you make of the state of this the election?

CHUCK ROBBINS, CEO, CISCO: Well, it's -- I think that what's going on now is that people are frustrated. I think they are frustrated. And they are frustrated with a lack of action, frustrated with a lack of commitment for Washington and our leaders to truly sit down and work on the issues and try to get to a compromise.

Everything we do in our marriages, in our relationships, in our companies, we talk to people -- we compromise every day all day long. And then we've gotten to this place in Washington where we don't compromise anymore. I think that's what they are saying.

And at the same time, you're hearing a lot of serious rhetoric I'd say from the outer edges of each side, and what, as you get through the process I think what we ultimately need is a leader who will bring these sides together and actually begin to solve the problems that the people care about. I think that's what we ultimately want.

HARLOW: Who is that right now? ROBBINS: I think that each side has a set of interesting candidates,

and I think that you know, if you press me on the Republican side I actually think John Kasich is -- has shown great results in what he's done in Ohio, but also think that Hillary is a great candidate on the Democratic side. I think they both --

HARLOW: You're a Republican saying Hillary is a great candidate.

ROBBINS: Isn't that shocking? I hope my dad's not watching.

HARLOW: You're not behind the GOP front-runner right now, Donald Trump, a businessman like you.

ROBBINS: I think some of his policies are very good. I think what we need is we need someone who will bring the country together. That's what I believe.

HARLOW: You don't see that in him.

ROBBINS: I think that to date what we need is people who talk about the issues and get at and also trying to bring both sides to the center so that we can solve the problems of the country.

HARLOW: Donald Trump has said that free trade deals starting with NAFTA in the '90s, continuing with TPP now, are causing the middle class to disappear. He says we've, quote, "sold out U.S. workers". Is he right?

ROBBINS: I think what most of the candidates are saying is that we need good trade deals. We need good trade deals. I would tell you that we represent 5 percent of the world's population, most of the consumers of goods are outside the United States.

So I think all businesses here need to be able to export their products and take advantage of you know, the consumers outside the United States. So I think most were believes we need obviously to drive trade on a global basis. I think that people just want to have smart trade.

HARLOW: But you wouldn't scrap NAFTA or TPP, like he's saying? I mean, he is saying this is the reason the middle class has declined. He doesn't point to technology.

ROBBINS: I think if you get down to what we need, we need growth. 2 percent growth doesn't create jobs. It doesn't create the jobs we need to actually you know, help the middle class in the country. And so, to the extent that we have access to more markets outside the United States through TPP, I think that creates more jobs here, and that's what most of us believe and we're very much supportive of TPP.

HARLOW: HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman said that Donald Trump's plan in terms of business and trade, quote, "to put a 35 percent tariff for goods imported to the United States from Mexico and China would sink this country into a recession." She did not mince words. Is she right? ROBBINS: Well, I think that getting back to the point earlier, I

think, if you listen to even Trump or the other presidential candidates and subsequent discussions, they say, look, we just need good trade. Does any one want to put 35 percent, 45 percent tariffs on imports? No.

HARLOW: Would that sink us to a recession if that actually happens?

ROBBINS: Well, I'm not an economist, but what I do believe we need good trade, fair trade and that we live in a global economy. And there again, we need to be able to export our products to the consumers around the world and there are certainly goods that are consumers in the United States want access to as well. So, I think it's all about good trade.


HARLOW: Coming up in the next hour, you'll have more of my interview with Chuck Robbins on why there are not more women in the top jobs in Silicon Valley, what is the most effective way to change that, to try reach gender parity, are quotas the answer? I ask him ahead in "American Opportunity".

Also, we will have more after the break, but first, in college sports all of the talk this weekend of course about March Madness. If your bracket looks like mine, it has been a rough go. But, there is hope because guess what?

Outdoor track season is about to start. Too bad there is no bracket for that.

[16:35:00] You won't believe this next story about a college athlete who is ready to go even though she cannot see the starting line.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has this week's "Turning Points".


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you watch Charlotte Brown, it's hard to believe she can't see.

CHRIS HUFFINS, TRACK & FIELD COACH, PURDUE UNIV.: Se does life so seamless that often people don't know she's blind.

GUPTA: The Purdue University freshman developed cataracts in both eyes at 16 weeks old and had surgery to remove them.

CHARLOTTE BROWN, BLIND POLE VAULTER: I could see colors and I could see shapes and people, but I always read large print and I could never see really well.

GUPTA: In sixth grade, Charlotte's vision got worse and she was declared legally blind.

BROWN: We just kind of hiccupped right over it. My parents, they never said, can you do that, it was just, how are you going to do that?

GUPTA: And question she asked when she wanted to pole vault in seventh grade.

BROWN: No one on my team was doing it and it seemed dangerous. And I was like, oh, I want to do something dangerous.

GUPTA: Charlotte and her coaches came up with a strategy. She places a beeper above the box where she plants her poll and then counts the steps on her approach.

BROWN: Because I have very sensitive hearing. So essentially when I vault, I really don't hear anything except for the beeper.

GUPTA: In her senior year, Charlotte won bronze at the Texas State High School Championships.

BROWN: I had a lot of kids come up to me and they just think you're the world. That's really cool just to know what you're doing is going to have an impact on them.

GUPTA: Now in college, the 18 year old says the sky is the limit.

BROWN: I'm scared of a lot of things, I just choose to do it away. So you just have to stare fear in the face and you just have to smile, even if you can't see it.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



[16:40:27] HARLOW: The NTSB will join the investigation of the deadly passenger plane crash in southern Russia that happened overnight. The FlyDubai Boeing 737 crashed while attempting to land, all 62 on board were killed.

Authorities have ruled out terrorism, they are looking at three possibilities: technical issues, severe weather, and human error.

Our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has more.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the snow and freezing rain still pounding southern Russia, emergency teams pick through the thousands of shattered pieces. The passenger airliner appears to have disintegrated on impact, barely recognizable. The camera catches a reminder of the dozens of passengers and crew who lost their lives. The grim task of identifying their remains could be painstaking.

VIKTOR YATSUTSENKO, RUSSIAN EMERGENCY MINISTRY (through translator): Today, a 3:50 a.m., after the second landing attempt in the airport of Rostov-on-Don, belonging to the FlyDubai Air Company on the route from Dubai crashed. Sadly, everyone died.

CHANCE: It's now confirmed 55 passengers and seven crew lost their lives.

Flight radar shows heavy aircraft flew for six hours from Dubai before aborting its first landing at Rostov because of bad weather. It circled the city for nearly two hours waiting for a break in the storm to make its second fatal approach.

These images caught on a security camera near the airport, the plane streaks from the sky, exploding in a fireball, as it hits the ground. Airline officials say there was no distress call and the plane was recently certified as air-worthy.

GAITH AL-GAITH, CEO, FLYDUBAI: I would like to express the devastation we all feel in relation to this tragic event in Rostov-on- Don. Our primary concern is for the passenger and the crew involved at this stage. Everyone in our company is indeed shock and our hearts go out to all loved ones of those involved.

CHANCE: Inside the airport terminal, the shocked families and friends of those on board. Teams of counselors have been sent to support the bereaved, and the Russian government has pledged financial assistance.

But the question remains why? This modern aircraft from an airline with a good safety record now lies scattered with all onboard.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


HARLOW: A tragedy.

Matthew, thank you very much for that.

Coming up next, CNN's reporting from inside of Syria, hospitals and schools devastated by air strikes. Our Clarissa Ward speaks with a doctor committed to saving his fellow Syrians.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm prepared to die than to leave.


HARLOW: You'll see a first-hand account of the horrors inside Syria. Do not miss the CNN exclusive, next.


[16:47:33] HARLOW: Secretary of State John Kerry making official what many have believed for quite a long time, that the actions of ISIS against the Yazidis constitutes genocide in both Iraq and Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Daesh is genocidal by self- proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, what it believes and what it does.


HARLOW: It is a reality our own Clarissa Ward has seen first-hand. Under cover in Syria, she takes us to the provincial capital of Idlib. That is where the rebels took control and they saw opportunity. But relentless bombardment from the Russian air force and the regime of Bashar al-Assad has hit schools and courthouses. It has devastated hospitals.

We need to warn you. Some of the images you are about to see are very graphic. Here's exclusive reporting from inside Syria with our Clarissa Ward.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an all-too common sight in rebel-held parts of Syria, the moments after the air strike. Dazed survivors stagger from the rubble, and those still trapped call out for help.

The target this time, the court house in Idlib City. Activists say the bombs were Russian.

(on camera): When rebels took this provincial capital of Idlib, they saw it as a crucial opportunity to demonstrate that they could build their own state and they believe that's exactly why the Russians bombed this courthouse, to undermine that effort.

(voice-over): Any civilian infrastructure is a potential target, including hospitals. Last month, four were hit in a single day. One, in the city of Maarrat Numan, was supported by Doctors Without Borders. This is what remains of it now is ruins, and at least 25 people were killed.

Dr. Mazen al-Souad was the general manager. He told us that Russian and regime forces target hospitals cynically and deliberately.

DR. MAZEN AL-SOUAD (through translator): They want to kill the maximum number of people. Also they want to forbid the area from having medical service. If there is no doctor, no nurse, no hospital, then there is no healthcare for the people and people will flee.

[16:50:00] WARD (on camera): Is it possible that they didn't know the building was a hospital?

AL-SOUAD: Everyone knows this is a hospital. There was even a sign that said this is a hospital. But if they didn't know, this is an even bigger disaster because if you are bombing a building like this without knowing it's a hospital, it means you are hitting totally indiscriminately.

WARD (voice-over): Against the backdrop of this vicious war, Islamist factions have gained the upper hand, including al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. The landscape is peppered with signs shunning Western democracy, and urging all men to join the jihad. And one encourages women to cover up completely.

Dr. Fera al-Jundi works at the only hospital still standing in Maarat Numan. He's no militant, but sees this conflict in black and white.

DR. FERA AL-JUNDI (through translator): The whole of the Syrian people is against ISIS and against extremism but we see that the Russians are bombing far from ISIS and they're focused on civilian areas.

WARD: I asked him why he doesn't leave Syria.

AL-JUNDI: If I did that, I would abandon my conscience. This is our country, we can't desert it.

If we left, then we have sold our morals. Who would treat the people? I can very easily leave, but we will remain steadfast.

I am prepared to die rather than to leave. And I will carry on no matter what.

WARD: Carry on in the faint hope that for the next generation of Syrians, it will be better.


HARLOW: Clarissa joins me now.

We see the first shots in one of your pieces of Aleppo. You talked about the extent of the devastation, being breathtaking. And I wonder since you've been so many times, you said you always leave thinking that's as bad as it can get.

WARD: That's exactly right. I was there before this in 2012, and I remember driving through the citadel and the historic old sights of Aleppo, one of the beautiful ancient cities in the world and thinking to myself with shock, my goodness, it's destroyed, decimated. You know, some of the country's most important historic sites are front line.

I truly believe leaving Aleppo at that time that it would be difficult for the situation to get worse than it was. And yet it did continue to get worse, the Assad regime continued to use this crudely made barrel bombs, dropping them out of the backs of helicopters, rebels were also using improvised explosives and huge suicide bombings, destroying parts of the city.

And then visiting now, after the Russian bombardment which was so ferocious and seeing often our cameras, Poppy, can't begin to really show you the 360-degree devastation. I mean, you're talking about entire residential neighborhoods, reduced to rubble. And one of the most vivid memories is passing this fruit market, and the color of the oranges.

HARLOW: It's the only color in the entire shot.

WARD: It's the only color in the entire shot. We were in this sea of gray and suddenly this burst of color.

HARLOW: What I remember about that shot, right, because it sticks with you, is the smiling two boys running. Talk to me about the hope that you did find among these people, because many of them say, we won't leave, no matter how bad it gets, we won't leave. This is our county.

WARD: And that was something that was really surprising to me, because I had also assumed I think that the people who didn't leave were either unable to leave because they were sick, they didn't have enough money. They didn't have the means. They couldn't get out of the country.

And so, it was really interesting to talk to people from all different walks of life who said oh, no, we choose to stay. We choose to continue this fight whether it's in an actual armed capacity, or as in with most people I met doctors, lawyers, ordinary people, civilians.

They felt very strongly that somebody needed to stay behind, to try to carve out some semblance of normally of everyday life in these battered rebel-held areas.

HARLOW: I suppose if they leave, right, then they have been beaten in a sense.

WARD: I think there's a sense of that, a I think there's a sense of they have already lost so much.

HARLOW: Right.

[16:55:00] WARD: They have already shed so much blood. They have already sacrificed so much. At this stage, to back down would almost be to dishonor the sacrifices made by so many.

HARLOW: What image, what person remains in your mind the most?

WARD: I think you can't forget the interview I did with this doctor, Dr. Fera al-Jundi. And he is working in the only hospital this is still operating in the city Maarrat Numan. And I asked him what I thought was a seemingly innocuous question, why don't you leave, you're a doctor, you have a medical degree, the means, go to Turkey.

And he completely broke down. And to see this man break down like this, honestly it was incredibly emotional moment. And to hear him speak in such rousing terms about this sense of duty to his people, and to taking care of them, and to providing some semblance of a health care system for the few remaining citizens in these battered areas, it was something I think that will haunt me forever.

HARLOW: Clarissa Ward's phenomenal reporting, you should go to You can see all of her coverage undercover behind rebel lines in Syria, right there.

We'll be right back.


HARLOW: Hi, everyone. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.