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Death Toll Soars In Syria And Turkey After Major Earthquake; Fallout From The Shootdown Of Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon; El Salvador Opens Mega-Prison With Room For 40,000 Inmates. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 06, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to CNN live from Abu Dhabi for you. Hundreds remain trapped under
rubble. That chilling statement comes directly from the White Helmets rescue group after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Turkey and Syria just
hours ago. It is one of the strongest quakes to hit the region in more than a century. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: You'll know from watching CONNECT THE WORLD we are never keen on parading numbers to describe human tragedy. So, when we say today's
combined death toll has been soaring, we know it means that families have lost loved ones. More than 2000 so far, but there have been moments of
hope, as you'll see from the next video showing the reaction when a survivor is pulled from the rubble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, people have been digging for hours many with their hands. I want to bring in CNN's Scott McLean who has the very latest for us. What do
we know at this point, Scott?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it seems like the aftershocks have been almost constant. Even just 30 minutes ago, our colleague Eyad Kourdi
who is in the Gaziantep region felt another one that stood out to him as particularly strong there. You've mentioned some of the numbers. They are
only going to go up from here by all accounts. President Erdogan said earlier today that they frankly didn't know how many people were still
trapped under the rubble at this stage of the game.
There are too many disaster sites to possibly even be able to estimate that number. We're talking about more than 2800 buildings by Turkey's count
alone that have been damaged. There are hundreds and hundreds more on the Syrian side of the border. And so, you can imagine what the death toll may
well end up being. Also consider the rescue efforts now are 14 hours in.
You've also had a situation where the weather is changing and not for the better. A cold snap in the southeast and south central part of the country.
Much colder than usual there and so people are only able to survive if they are in fact alive under the rubble for so long under these frigid cold
conditions. You also had about 4-1/2 hours ago, this second -- technically an aftershock, but really an earthquake all on its own, magnitude 7.5 which
is even stronger than the 1999 earthquake in northwestern Turkey that killed 17,000 people and left about a half a million people homeless at
And I just want to play you a piece of video that we're getting from the city of Malatya at the time of that second earthquake. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: This was shot by a local news crew in Turkey. And I'll just tell you what the reporter is saying there. He says, as we were heading to the
rubble of the search film -- search and rescue crews, there were two consecutive aftershocks with a loud noise in the building you're seeing on
my left was brought down to earth. There's a lot of dust. A local resident here he is covered in dust.
And the sound there, Becky, is absolutely terrifying. We know that there are plenty of pledges for help from across the world and from within Turkey
as well and help that is certainly on the way but part of what is hampering those efforts is the fact that the airports in many cases are damaged. In
some cases, authorities are limiting the -- who can land at those airports to aid and aid workers.
In other cases like the video you see here and Hatay, I don't even know how to describe that. That's not a crack. That is something entirely different
which obviously makes it impossible for airplanes to use that runway at this stage of the game. I mean, the list of challenges here it goes on and
on. You have challenges with electricity, the gas is cut off for obvious reasons so that fires aren't starting.
You have issues with the mobile network being extremely spotty especially around the epicenters. And you have, of course, this huge effort to try to
get heavy machinery into places that needed. Of course, big cities like Gaziantep, two million people that's readily available, but in smaller
towns and villages closer to the epicenter, Becky, that may not be the case. And it's just one more reason why sadly this death toll and the
number of injured as well is very likely to continue to rise.
ANDERSON: Yes. And those -- and those videos of those aftershocks, awful. They are terrifying. I can attest to that having been in a number of
environment's post-earthquake. Shocks that powerful beyond words.
Let's talk about Syria where as we understand that the situation may be worse, Scott?
MCLEAN: Yes, that's right. I mean, consider Becky, that after the 1999 earthquake in Turkey officials there started to really take seriously this
idea of upgrading the building code to make sure that buildings in the future could potentially withstand earthquakes. Obviously, in Turkey, we're
getting a sense of which buildings are not up to code are not as well reinforced as others. In Syria, you've had a very different situation.
You've had more than a decade of Civil War in that country with the infrastructure there being really completely wiped out. Hospitals
struggling to cope there. And you have the White Helmets, the Syrian Civil Defense, an organization that we know well from seeing them dig people out
of the rubble from bombs and missiles that have struck areas of Syria to try to pull people out of the rubble.
Now they are putting those same skills to us trying to get people trapped from the earthquake. And this was the desperate appeal from that group
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very difficult task for us. We need help. We need the international community to do something to help us, to support us, north we
see now it's a disaster area, we need help from everyone to save our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: So, complicating things further, Becky, is the fact that of course the northwestern part of Syria is rebel-controlled. You also have Damascus,
which controls the large swath of the rest of the country and any kind of international aid that's going to be getting into these areas is going to
have to go through a whole bunch of diplomatic hurdles to actually get there. We've also just recently got a statement from the Red Crescent which
said that it had real concerns about the ability of an already decimated health system to actually cope inside of Syria. Becky?
ANDERSON: Scott's with us with the very latest details on the ground. Let's get you -- thank you, Scott -- to CNN Jomana Karadsheh. She is in Turkey.
She joins us now live from Istanbul. And you have been assessing the incoming offers of support and just taking a look at the wider picture
here. I mean, NATO, the E.U., 45 countries have offered to help Turkey at this point. Arab leaders sending condolences.
And let me tell you, we've been talking to Gulf countries today about the sort of search and rescue and aid that is going in from the UAE, from Qatar
and beyond Russian President Vladimir Putin sending condolences both to the Turkish president and to the Syrian president offering support as have the
Greeks and we know that relationship with between Turkey and Greece is a particularly bad one of late.
This quake disaster has -- look, frankly, a lot of the world coming together. What do you make of those offers? And what could this mean for
diplomacy at this point?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, Becky, we have to also mention that this is a country that is very well equipped. It has got the
resources to deal with natural disasters. This is a country that usually deploys teams to deal with natural disasters and other countries and
earthquakes. This is a country that is no stranger to earthquakes. And the fact that within the first few hours, in the aftermath of this earthquake,
they triggered this level four alert requesting assistance from the international community.
This says a lot about the level of devastation and the casualty figures. They're expecting the extent of the search and rescue operation. They're
expecting across these 10 provinces across the country, of course, I mean - - and, you know, when you see a country like Turkey that is making these requests, one can only think of what is going on across the border in Syria
where they don't have the resources, where they don't really have anything to deal with this sort of disaster where -- we're even, you know, facing
really slow communication with the country where you can't really get a full picture of what is going on there.
And of course, as Scott mentioned earlier, a country where much of the infrastructure, services decimated by 12 years of war has left them unable
to deal with a situation like this. So, when you have a country like Turkey that is reaching out to the international community and asking for support,
I mean, in the past few moments we heard, as you mentioned, NATO, of course, Turkey, a key NATO member.
You know, Turkey has sent a formal request to NATO, according to a statement saying they've requested everything. Medical assistant equipment,
various urban search and rescue units, as well as extreme weather proof fully equipped field hospitals and technical personnel for assembly. I
mean, this is a large-scale disaster and they're going to need all the support and help they can get now.
When it comes to different countries whether it's Greece, of course, they've had a very turbulent relationship, very rocky relationship over the
years that has really worsened in recent months. There is a history when it comes to, you know, Turkey, being in these diplomatic crises with some
countries when it comes to natural disasters. It is usually forgotten. We have seen that in the past with wildfires and other disasters where Turkey
has also offered support to various countries, no matter where relations stand between those countries.
And I can tell you right now, Becky, there's a lot of concern about this rising death toll. A lot of concern is we are losing daylight right now,
for this ongoing, very delicate search and rescue operation that continues as you've got more than 100 aftershocks, the most powerful being 7.5 that
have hit the area. It is going to be a very, very difficult night for hundreds of thousands of people both here in Turkey and in Syria across the
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Your analysis is so important. And I know you've been on this story since the outset. Thank you. We'll let you go and get on
with the sourcing more for us. Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul.
In this region, Arab leaders then sending their support here in the UAE. President Mohammed bin Zayed held calls with both Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. State news reports that he expressed his heartfelt condolences to the two presidents, their
people and the families of those affected by the devastating earthquake that hit the two countries.
The Emir of Qatar also spoke to Mr. Erdogan and express support in "mitigating the serious humanitarian repercussions of this: and I can
attest to the fact that we've been in touch with both the UAE and authorities in Qatar both getting prepared to send in support -- aid
support and possibly search and rescue support as well.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry put out a statement expressing sincere condolences in solidarity with both Turkey and Syria and the victims of the devastating
earthquake. King Abdullah of Jordan directing aid to the families of the victims in both countries.
And to make matters even worse, rescue efforts are likely going to be slowed by what is harsh weather in the region. Meteorologist Chad Myers
standing by for us at CNN Center in Atlanta. Before we get on to the forecast, let's just have a look at the map. Because these aftershocks are
terrifying. We've just been talking about the enormity of the last one. Just give us a sense of what we are seeing, what we are reporting on here
and the fear of more, of course, Chad.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Sure. The aftershock that happened about four hours ago right now was an earthquake in itself. It was 7.5 with the
main shock being 7.8. But, you know, we always show you the dots of where the earthquake occurred. We also show you the cone of where a hurricane or
a typhoon might land because we say, don't look at the middle of the cone, look at the whole cone.
Same idea with earthquakes. Don't look at where that center is, look at where the damage is. This is the damage from the initial quake. Everywhere
that you see read there. It's because that slip that we talked about where one crustal plate moves against the other crustal plate, they've been
locked in place for decades and just this morning and last night they decided not to be locked in place anymore.
While the acceleration here moved the land to move the land and all of a sudden you have these buildings that have been collapsing on each other.
This is not an epicenter, it is an epi-line, it's an ipa-area because there was so much of the area that did move. Typically, you know, we'll get a
small earthquake, and it'll move maybe 20 kilometers. This one likely slipped. The entire fault lines slipped 190 kilometers. So, that's how much
damage, how long of a line of damage. We're showing you small pictures of big towns, but there are many more that we can't even get to.
Many more that don't even have any communication, period, whatsoever. So, this is going to be a long process to recover, and the recovery is going to
happen at about five degrees below zero. It's cold. Cold front already came through. Israel came through the West Bank already now moving off toward
the east. That cold air is dropping temperatures down somewhere between eight above in the afternoon down in Aleppo but down to about four below.
And Becky, there's not going to be a person in any of these areas. These are the highs subtract about 10 degrees from the lows. There's not going to
be a person in any of these buildings that can go back home. They're not -- they don't want to be in a building that's already partially fractured with
more earthquakes, more aftershocks happening for fear that the building could still come down with another big aftershock.
They -- this is a long-drawn-out process and a tragic, tragic loss of life here and a very hard recovery.
ANDERSON: Absolutely, Chad. Appreciate it. Thank you. Well, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD folks.
Ahead. The U.S. Navy works to recover debris from a suspected Chinese spy balloon that the U.S. shot down over the weekend. Why U.S. Republicans are
criticizing the timeline of that shoot down.
Plus, for the first time China confirms it owns another giant balloon that was spotted over Latin America. We'll unpack all of this after the break.
Stay with us.
ANDERSON: U.S. Navy and Coast Guard crews are working to salvage debris from a suspected Chinese spy balloon that the U.S. shut down in the
Atlantic on Saturday. The balloon travel across the United States for several days before it was shut down. Sparking criticism from Republicans
that the Biden administration waited too long to act. Well, China claims it was civilian unmanned airship that drifted into the U.S. by accident.
It says it "reserves the right to use necessary means to deal with similar situations." Carlos Suarez reports on the political fallout in the United
CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Navy crews working into the night off the coast of North Myrtle Beach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just shot it.
SUAREZ: Including divers searching for debris from the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
PETE BUTTIGIEG, UNITED STATES TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: There's reporting now that the debris field that was created by this balloon when it was shot
down was about seven miles long.
SUAREZ: One onlooker provided this video to CNN showing what looks like a piece of possible debris from the balloon on the back of a boat. This as
we're hearing the audio communications between the first fighter wing pilot and air traffic control that depict the moment the balloon was hit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The balloon is completely destroyed.
SUAREZ: The balloon was first spotted on January 28 when it entered Alaskan airspace. By Tuesday, it had entered the continental U.S. and was spotted
over Idaho and Montana.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told them to shoot it down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Wednesday. But the recommendation --
BIDEN: They said to me, let's wait for the safest place to do it.
SUAREZ: The military advised the President Biden that the debris from shooting down the balloon could pose a risk to civilians and infrastructure
on the ground. The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon continued to make its way across the U.S. moving all the way to the East Coast. Once it was
over the Atlantic, it was shot down.
MIKE TURNER, CHAIR, UNITED STATES HOUSE INTELLIGEN COMMITTEE: And the key is the payload that was attached to it, which you've reported is, you know,
the size of three bus -- buses. That's obviously huge, and it was being commanded and controlled by Mainland China and delivering and data and
information back to mainland China. Again, if you look at the path that you put X's where all of our sense of missile defense and nuclear weapons
facilities are, I believe that they were trying to gain information on how to defeat the command and control of our nuclear weapons systems and our
missile defense systems.
SUAREZ: The Pentagon says at least four other Chinese surveillance balloons have been spotted in recent years. They also said they had briefed Congress
on previous balloons that flew near Texas and Florida. Officials say this balloon was unique from the others in the path it took and the length of
time it spent loitering over sensitive missile sites in Montana.
LEON PANETTA, FORMER UNITED STATES DEFENSE SECRETARY: If we were aware of the balloon, I think we should have taken steps to prevent it from entering
our airspace. And I'm not sure that we should have allowed it to simply cross over the country crossover. We're obviously sensitive military sites.
I don't -- I don't see the logic of that.
ANDERSON: That was Carlos Suarez reporting. China is using a similar explanation admitting it's the owner of another white observation balloon.
It says accidentally ended up in the skies over Latin America. Here is how the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman responded to our Selina Wang when
she asked about it during a press briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon says another surveillance balloon from China has been spotted over Latin America. And the U.S. says
there were three instances during the Trump Administration of China flying surveillance balloons over the U.S. What's the purpose of these balloons
MAO NING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): After verification, the balloon over Latin America, the unmanned air shipping
question came from China and was of a civilian nature use for flight tests. Due to the weather and the limited control ability the airship pass.
Seriously deviated from his intended route and enter the airspace of Latin America and the Caribbean by mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Let's get more on this story. Marc Stewart is in Hong Kong. Stefano Pozzebon is live in the Colombian capital of Bogota. Marc, let's
start with you. From the Chinese perspective, what's the story here?
MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The story has been a consistent story, Becky, believe it or not, China feels that again this is a -- these
balloons, these vessels as they call them were on scientific patrol because of weather reasons. An inability to control them successfully they went off
course. It's the explanation that was given to the balloons that were seen flying over Colombia and Costa Rica.
And it's also the explanation that was given to the balloon that was flying over the United States. It's interesting. During that same news conference,
my colleague Selina Wang also pressed the government spokesperson about the fact that the U.S. government was so insistent that this was a spy balloon.
And the response to Selina was that the U.S. government is deliberately trying to hype this up.
So, China is sticking to its story. Also, what other questions, Becky, that remains unanswered. Are there other balloons in the atmosphere very similar
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Let's bring in Steffano. Steffano, you got the perspective from the region that you are in. This is just a lot of hot air
that she's that pumped by the United States as far as Beijing is concerned. What's the -- what's the story where you are?
STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN REPORTER: I think it's interesting to analyze the story from a Latin American perspective because of while Costa Rica and
Colombia both confirm that these unmanned airborne vehicle enter their own airspace over the weekend.
The last sightings we had are from reports in Venezuela. But of course, the Venezuelan government did not address those sighting. Did not confirm
whether indeed and unmanned the Chinese vehicle enter the Venezuelan airspace. What Venezuela did just yesterday, on Saturday -- or Sunday,
sorry, Becky, was publishing a statement slamming Washington's decision to shut down the road balloon over South Carolina on a Saturday.
Saying that Washington and United States have violated international rule, and that Washington routinely enters the Venezuelan airspace. So, I think
that it's interesting to notice how different countries in Latin America are taking very different decisions and positions around the story. And
that perhaps so shows you how Latin America is in the middle of the competition between Washington and Beijing.
We talked a lot about these new Cold War and these competition between the new superpowers of the 21st century Well, Latin America is there and it's
in the eyes of both of them over the last few decades that China has invested millions in Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil. It's the
biggest partner -- commercial partner for most countries in the region. And of course, these that used to be the Washington backyard is now Atlanta,
where Beijing has set their eyes on very firmly.
So, even a hot hair story with a balloon that is apparently (INAUDIBLE) the Chinese are saying it's a drift over the Caribbean Sea has become a -- an
interesting story to analyze based on the different positions that the different countries have taken. Colombia, of course, which is a staunch
ally of the United States, confirming the sightings where Venezuela instead with the usual sub rattling and attacking Washington for what they say
well, is a crime against international rule of law. Becky?
ANDERSON: Absolutely, Stefano. Thank you. And Marc is in Hong Kong with the Beijing perspective.
Lower desperate searches happening right now in parts of Turkey and in Syria. This of course is our top headline today. So, crews hope to find
survivors amid the rubble from today's first massive earthquake. Let me tell you, there have been a number of huge shocks if not one. Earthquake
itself since then. How Israel is promising to help is up next also, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: With war still raging not far away in Ukraine, commanders say this training feels much more real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: NATO troops attack fictional frontlines and annual winter exercise in Estonia. A live report on that is coming up.
ANDERSON: -- Abu Dhabi and you are watching CNN. And this a breaking story. The very latest story that has shocked the world. The massive 7.8 magnitude
earthquake in southern Turkey. We now know that more than 2300 people have died in this disaster in Turkey. And in Syria, and scenes like this are
happening across the region. You can see part of this building in Turkey has simply collapsed.
Rescue crews searching for survivors. Similar scenes happening in Syria. Emergency workers. They're sifting through rubble hoping to find someone,
anyone is still alive in this carnage. The quake was so powerful that it could be felt as far away as Lebanon and Israel. Hadas Gold is live in
Jerusalem. Certainly, people on the ground there feeling this. Israel promising aid to Turkey. We clearly have to ask what about aid to Syria at
What's the -- what are the details as you under -- as you understand?
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're right. We could feel the earthquake here. My husband actually said that he felt it overnight. I
somehow slept right through it. But it was even stronger felt in Tel Aviv. People there are telling me that their entire -- felt like their entire
house was shaking. We're getting reports of people feeling it in a mind across the Palestinian territories.
But thankfully, at least in this region, there have been no reports of injuries or damage. Just really policing that they received almost 4000
reports after the initial earthquake. And then that really strong aftershocks from just a few hours ago, that actually was felt, especially
in northern Israel. There's some videos of people just fleeing buildings, because of that aftershock. It was quite strong. Obviously, people on very
Now in terms of response, the Israelis are saying that -- the military planes with aides will be taking off this evening. And tonight, from what
we understand there will be two planes flying out with everything from search and rescue crews and gear to humanitarian aid and basic things to
help the people who obviously as you can see have just lost their homes. Have nowhere to really go.
If you also think about the fact that places that you might normally go in the, you know, if something happens to your building, let's say a school, a
hospital, a mosque, that they are likely damaged as well. And so, as part of this aid that they are bringing, they're bringing things, you know, like
tents, like blankets, things can help people -- keep people warm. It is very cool. There is a storm coming through right here.
I can tell you it's incredibly windy and cold here in Jerusalem, that same storm front is affecting the area where this earthquake hit. So, we know
that those planes are heading to Turkey. Now you asked about Syria, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu actually said earlier today that through
diplomatic channels, he didn't say exactly who, they -- the Israelis did receive a request to help Syria and that they did plan to send that along
which is interesting, because although Israel and Syria are neighbors, they have no formal relationship.
So, if aid has been requested by a third party, we don't know exactly who quite yet. It will be interesting to see if that aid -- if that aid request
actually did come through and what the Israelis will be sending. They are neighbors, so it is close by. It's also interesting that other leaders from
this region, Qatar, Jordan, UAE have all either spoken with their Turkish counterparts and condolences.
And we're seeing pledges of support from Taiwan, to the Netherlands, people are just planning to send of course hundreds of rescuers and as much help
as they can, of course, one of the biggest issues is just how to get to some of the stricken areas. I'm from the Israeli military, they may be
using, you know, certain types of specialized planes that can land in areas that might not have exactly working runways.
Of course, time is of the essence right now just trying to get people there as quickly as possible. Flight time from Israel to this area in Turkey is
probably about two hours. So not too long. Just trying to get as many people there as much help there as quickly as possible. And also, with the
Syria. It will be interesting to see how that works. You know, if the aid does arrive to Syria from Israel, whether you know, a situation like this
can really transcend politics. Becky?
ANDERSON: I've been around long enough to have seen these examples of what have been noted become. Earthquake diplomacy Turkey, with Greece back in
1999. The awful earthquake back in 1999 in Turkey as -- and what was a entailed earthquake. Diplomacy from the support that the Greeks sent to
Turkey at the time. It does happen.
I was in Pakistan in the mid-2000s when we saw an awful lot of support from many countries who simply don't normally get on but just got going and then
moved into action in order to help. All right. Good stuff. And one always hopes that that's the situation when these awful things happen. Thank you.
Ukraine, sending mixed messages about the tenure of its defense minister at a key moment in the war. On Sunday, a top ally of Ukraine's president said
that our Oleksii Reznikov would be replaced but a day later he appeared to dial back his remarks saying no change is expected this week. The defense
minister has been under pressure for several weeks related to corruption scandals inside his department.
Meanwhile, Reznikov is warning that a widely expected Russian offensive may start soon. He says his troops are set to begin training today on Leopard 2
tanks in Germany. Several NATO member -- nations are supplying those German tanks to Ukraine. Other Ukrainian crews are already trading on British
tanks in the United Kingdom.
CNN got a chance to see these Leopards and other battle tanks in action at ATO's winter exercise in Estonia. Around 1500 NATO soldiers took part in
what is an annual event. Nic Robertson reports from an army base in Estonia.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Danish Leopard 2 tanks, similar to those soon to be deployed to Ukraine, storming an imagined enemy position in Estonia. French
troops attack fictional front lines. As Estonian troops pretend to hold them off. All part of the Baltic nations annual NATO winter exercise to gel
the multinational alliances into a singular fighting force.
ROBERTSON (on camera): These military exercises feel different. The French have bought in far more troops on the path. And with war still raging not
far away in Ukraine commanders say this training feels much more real.
ROBERTSON (voice over): Two-thirds of the 44 tanks involved in the exercise British Challenger two tanks. More like these also soon deploying to
Lessons learned here valuable for the Ukrainians. Communications between the Challenger and Leopard tanks critical. But no doubt use correctly, they
could be a game changer.
MAJOR NICK BRIDGES, BRITISH ENHANCED FORWARD PRESENCE, ESTONIA: Both can do gunfight at night and they've got Hunter Killer capabilities as well. So,
they can engage a target while looking for the next target. So, very much more advanced tanks with advanced sighting systems than what the adversary
ROBERTSON (on camera): The Ukrainian say they want to use the Leopard 2 tank as an iron fist to punch through Russian lines. Give Putin a bloody
nose and snatch back territory they've lost.
ROBERTSON (voice over): The lesson here. That won't happen overnight. Typically, Danes (INAUDIBLE) train individual Leopard 2 operators in two
weeks. A crew of four in two months. But it can take two years to combine them into a force able to seize territory.
MAJOR RASMUS JENSEN, DANISH ARMY: They say it's the tactics that takes time. Then you have the theory as a crew. And then you have to learn to
drive as a crew within a platoon or within the squad from.
ROBERTSON: Estonia's defense minister whose country spends a whopping one percent of GDP supporting Ukraine watching the training. Keen to get the
tanks to Ukraine soonest.
HANNO PEVKUR, ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISER: I really hope that it's not too late. I really hope because we all understand that there is a push from
Russians coming in a -- in a very, like coming months or coming weeks even.
ROBERTSON (on camera): So, is this a make-or-break moment in the next few months in this war?
PEVKUR: Probably. So, it's a -- once again, when there will be no breakthrough in the coming weeks and months, then probably we will end or
we will step in to the very long time of war.
ROBERTSON (voice over): This operation ongoing for another week. As elsewhere, Ukrainian troops begin to get their hands on beasts like these.
How quickly they can use them effectively will impact well beyond Ukraine.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson joining us now live from Estonia near the Tapa Army Base. Your report pretty robust there. What more did you learn about the
military exercise which as I understand it, concludes next week?
ROBERTSON: It does. There's more time to go. The Leopard 2 tanks that we'd like to be seeing right now literally hiding in the forest. The French
forces here, their commandos will be getting into the forest to try to locate them. This training is intense, it's very real for the soldiers.
This is a headquarters group behind me here. The medics and others just gather around a campfire which gives you an idea of how cold it is. But I
think some of the big takeaways from us have been, you know, the capability that these tanks have over and above what Russians have. These tanks, the
Leopard 2 can go in reverse as fast as it can go forward. Now, it's massively advantageous fighting Russian tanks which can't really go in
reverse very fast.
And it's good because it allows the Ukrainians and the Leopard 2 to shoot and scoot to get out of trouble quickly. So, they're more maneuverable. The
Leopard 2 tank and the Challenger have higher velocity rounds than the Russian tanks can punch through armor. So, all of these things make a
qualitative difference. But I suppose the underlying feature has to be, you can't expect breakthroughs quickly.
But the better the training, the better the tactics will be, the better that they could work together with that infantry and the Ukrainians do have
some tanks already. This is what's going to give them that opportunity to punch through the Russian lines. But the tanks don't make it easy. It's
complicated, sophisticated to put all that big package together, but it is possible and can be done.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is on the ground. Thank you, Nic.
And we will be back with more news after this short break. Stay with us.
ANDERSON: More on our top story, this hour the death toll in Turkey and Syria growing more tragic I'm afraid. Soaring past 2000 after a devastating
earthquake that's been followed by scores of aftershocks. This all happened just hours ago in a region already suffering from war a refugee crisis and
ongoing economic pain. The following footage shows you what it was like when a building collapsed earlier in Turkey for example. Have a look at
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ANDERSON: We've got a CNN team covering the great disaster. They'll be back with us at the top of the hour of course.
In other news, El Salvador is open to one of the largest prisons in Latin America. One that will more than double the country's capacity to house
criminals. The space was needed because tens of thousands of suspects had been rounded up in a crackdown on gun violence. Gang violence but human
rights groups are already raising concerns. CNN's Rafael Romo has has a story.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice over): A massive police operation on national T.V. This is how people in El Salvador
found out about a new massive maximum security prison intended to hold as many as 40,000.
Nayib Bukele, the media obsessed millennial precedent of the Central American nation of six million was featured permanently in the video during
the new facility he calls the terrorism containment center.
The president described the new prison as a giant facility built in seven months. That will be a fundamental piece to completely win the war against
gangs in El Salvador.
Salvadoran Public Works Minister Romeo Rodriguez said the prison has no courtyards. No recreation areas, there aren't any spaces for conjugal
ROMO (on camera): According to government figures, Salvadoran security forces have detained more than 62,000 suspected gang members since March of
last year when President Bukele declared a state of emergency to fight crime.
NAYIB BUKELE, PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR (through translator): We are going to intensify this war against the gangs. And if they thought the force of
the state had been unleashed on these criminals, well, now they are going to really see what it means to unleash the force of the state on these
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this facility which will probably be one of the biggest prisons in the Western Hemisphere is a symbol of the madness of
President Bukele's security policies.
ROMO (voice over): In a statement last week, Human Rights Watch said Bukele's iron fist policies have resulted in mass due process violations,
severe prison overcrowding and deaths.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have documented in the ground that some of these people have nothing to do with gangs, are innocent Salvadorians, working
people, children who have been arrested and now face (INAUDIBLE) legal proceedings to prove that they have nothing to do with this criminal
RMO: Among those who believe boo kill his policies are doing more harm than good are the parents of five children who live near San Salvador, the
capital. One of their sons was detained last April and a second one in December and accused of gang crimes.
They're practically taking my life, their mother says. My children are not criminals. They are hardworking, good people.
The wildly popular Bukele denies accusations of human rights abuses and due process violations and says sharp drops in homicides and crimes like
extortion prove his policies are working.
But the Reese (ph) family wonders if Bukele's rush to try to arrest his way out of it Salvador's endemic gang problem is creating new innocent victims.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
ANDERSON: Pakistan's former president died in exile, but he was due to be buried in his home country today. General Pervez Musharraf died in Dubai on
Sunday following a long illness. Here's a look at his life and political legacy.
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ANDERSON (voice over): Pervez Musharraf was a soldier and a politician who navigated a tangled path from dictatorship to democracy.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PAKISTAN PRESIDENT: I was the army chief and as well as the president. I was also the chairman of joins chiefs of top
committee. I was also the prime minister.
ANDERSON: Musharraf rose through the ranks from Cadet to Army Chief of Staff. But in 1999, he seized his next promotion. In a struggle against the
prime minister, he served Nawaz Sharif. Sharif tried to replace Musharraf while he was overseas and Musharraf rushed to fly home. Authorities
wouldn't let his commercial plane land even when it started running low on fuel. But Musharraf supporters in the top brass took control of key
government buildings. Arrested the prime minister and put Musharraf into power,
MUSHARRAF: Dead brothers and sisters.
ANDERSON: His supporters say he helped elevate the middle class and as the country's new leader, he inherited two key alliances with the U.S. and the
Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. On September the 11th, 2001, he was forced to choose.
MUSHARRAF: People of Pakistan are deeply shocked and outraged at the dreadful terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
ANDERSON: General Musharraf tried to make himself an indispensable ally against Islamic extremists but was criticized for not doing enough.
Nevertheless, the extremists responded.
In 2003, he survived two assassination attempts in two weeks, and there will be others. Musharraf also had other opponents. Pakistanis who wanted
to return to democracy. He won a referendum in 2002 that gave him a five- year term for what his opponents called Democratic Martial Law. In 2007, Musharraf won another term as president and vowed to rule as a civilian.
MUSHARRAF (through translator): I have completed 46 years in this uniform and I am saying goodbye to this uniform.
ANDERSON: But mounting pressure led into call elections and allow the return of a long-exiled opponent former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Pakistanis was stunned when Bhutto was assassinated two months later as an armored car moved past a rally. Many blamed Musharraf for withholding the
heightened protection that Bhutto had been requesting. He was charged with murder in her death.
He denied any involvement and blamed Bhutto herself for standing up in the car unprotected. In elections that followed, two parties joined forces to
launch impeachment proceedings against Musharraf prompting his resignation and within months self-imposed exile
MASHARRAF (through translator): For the sake of the country, please accept this decision.
ANDERSON: Four years later, he was back pledging to return to politics, despite charges he faced in connection with Bhutto's death and other
allegations. But courts repeatedly barred him from seeking public office. Masharraf's legal troubles with drag on and the public support he was
hoping for never materialized. In 2016 he left his homeland for Dubai for medical treatment and never returned.
ANDERSON: Police in Dallas in Texas say a man arrested in the suspected theft of tamarin monkeys from the city's zoo could be linked to tampering
with other animal habitats there. Ed Lavandera spoke to Zoo officials about these incidents and the zoo's response.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The high- flying Gibbons apes are oblivious to the fact that their little corner of the Dallas Zoo is a crime scene that's garnered worldwide attention. For
the humans at the zoo, it's been a nearly month-long nightmare.
HARRISON EDELL, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF ANIMAL CARE AND WELFARE, DALLAS ZOO: They broke into the building.
LAVANDERA: Harrison Edell is the Dallas Zoo's Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Welfare. He's showing us where the mysterious break ins,
escapes, possible murder and animal abductions occurred. It started here in this enclosure which is home to four langur monkeys. Edell says they found
a four-foot-high cut in the wire mesh.
EDELL: We also noticed that some of the climbing structure inside the habitat was broken. And it had literally collapsed which made us think an
animal larger than a langur had been in here.
LAVANDERA: None of the monkeys escaped.
EDELL: A lot of us and animal care at the zoo have gone to some really dark places in our minds in the last month.
LAVANDERA (on camera): You can almost picture whoever was in there chasing these guys down. It must have been rather frantic for the animals.
EDELL: I can only imagine how scary that is for lunge to have a person in their space who's trying to aggressively grab them.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Around the same time and just two exhibits away, the clouded leopard habitat was cut open. A female leopard named Nova
walked right out, setting off what the zoo calls a code blue.
LAVANDERA: (on camera): The SWAT team rolled out here that morning. That's going to be terrifying.
EDELL: Yes. I mean, SWAT team heard the word leopard and thought. Leopard leopard.
LAVANDERA (voice over): High-tech drones were used to search for the 25- pound cat to no avail. That afternoon, two Zoo employees standing about 30 yards away from Nova's habitat founder.
EDELL: One of them said to the other one, why is that squirrel so pissed off? There's a squirrel in the tree barking and down here in one of these
cabinets. The leopard was curled up in a cabinet looking at them.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Down here?
EDELL: There's the curator who said why is the squirrel so upset.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Lisa Van Slett, the zoo's mammal curator called for help.
LISA VAN SLETT, MAMMAL CURATOR, DALLAS ZOO: And then a chase ensued.
LAVANDERA (on camera): But she's safe and sound safe now.
SLETT: She's safe and sound now. At first, we thought maybe isolated incident. Somebody tried something and failed.
LAVANDERA (voice over): It was just the beginning. A lappet faced vulture named Pin was found dead. Dallas police said the rare bird had been
wounded. And then last week, two rare emperor tamarin monkeys were taken from the zoo.
EDELL: And they made a huge cut in this wall of mesh right here in order to get into the habitat.
LAVANDERA: The one-pound monkeys were found the next day in this abandoned house about 15 miles away. Zoo officials say the monkeys were unharmed.
That last incident led police to arrest 24-year-old Davion Irvin. He's been charged with six counts of animal cruelty and two counts of burglary to a
building. But investigators say he is not currently charged in connection to the death of the vulture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Joe exotic and this is sarge.
LAVANDERA: Wildlife experts say the fascination with exotic animals is fueled by shows like Tiger cleaners and social media influencers creating
an underground world of exotic animals as pets.
DAN ASHE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ASSOCIATION OF ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS: It's a massive problem, the -- globally the illegal pet trade is again driving
many animals toward extinction and we think of it oftentimes as a kind of other world problem. This is an opportunity to let people know that animals
need to be left alone in their homes.
EDELL: I'm going to sound so old when I say this, it doesn't help that social media influencers are showing kids that it's cool to have this thing
in the house.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Do you think that that might be one of the motivations here? Just that kind of influence?
EDELL: I do. I do.
ANDERSON: That was Ed Lavandera reporting. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. This show continues after this short break. Stay with us.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANDERSON: It's 8:00 p.m. in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. An urgent appeal for help after a deadly
earthquake and scores of aftershocks ravaged southern Turkey and neighboring Syria just hours ago and this continues.