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More than 11,800 Dead, Survivors Pulled from Rubble; Israeli Aid Groups Chartering Rescue Flights to Turkey; Zelenskyy to Visit French & German Leaders in Paris Wednesday; U.S. Says Sanctions Include Exceptions for Humanitarian Aid; Biden Warns China, if you Threaten U.S. Sovereignty We'll act; Rescue Amid Tragedy, Two Children Pulled from Rubble. Aired 11a- 12p ET
Aired February 08, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello, and welcome to "Connect the World" I'm Christina Macfarlane. Rescue operations in Turkey
and Syria are taking on added urgency as the death toll from Monday's devastating earthquake nears 12,000.
Aid agencies fear that number could climb significantly. And they're warning of a catastrophic situation in Northwest Syria where millions of
people were already displaced from relying on humanitarian help. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is near the epicenter in Turkey and sent us this report and a
warning this report contains graphic images.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice over): You can still almost feel the enormity of the tremors here. This is Kahramanmaras
closest to the epicenter. One older neighborhood shredded its family warmth huddling on the street. Dochek's (ph) father is trapped under the rubble
here, only his feet protrude.
They can't get him out, but can cover his toes. It would be really nice he says if the government has come by. Torand (ph) retrieved his 8-year-old
daughter, wife and daughter-in-law; pray you never stand over so much of your life their final dignity from a carpet.
Push down and there are glimmers of hope. These rescuers have spotted a 12- year-old Mustafa (ph) in the rubble and have to dig down to him. Further along Ali (ph) help them find his 65-year-old mother. She's in her bed down
there he says we'll get her out soon.
There is not much sign of government here perhaps as the scale of this is all too massive. Dusk makes the dust and the immense bulk of the mess
harder still. The cold just an insult in the days of emptiness that lie ahead. And the news from the rubble is as often as bad as it is good.
A body found here carried out and lay next to this man's 9-year-old daughter Baren (ph). The black here hiding the intimate agonies buried in
it. The stories with the wrong ending but suddenly, there is a call for quiet hush they think they hear a voice a pause and then the best noise
joy. Rescuers think they might have found six people alive but there are hours more ahead of checking.
But nothing really goes to plan here even the joy seems random where Ali's mother is being rescued two young people are unexpectedly found and pulled
out. A 16-year-old girl apparently still alive--
WALSH (on camera): Extraordinary moment of joy kind of thing that really all of Turkey is desperately hoping and waiting for. But as the
temperatures drop and time goes by there will be some harder to come by that extraordinary see somebody pulled so helpfully straight out of this
WALSH (voice over): Abdullah (ph) seems unscathed; almost untouched by the tremors that altered everything else he emerges into. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN
MACFARLANE: Well, earlier Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited an emergency relief center at the heart of the disaster zone after greeting
victims he acknowledged problems with the Turkish government's initial response.
MACFARLANE: But said the situation is under control and vowed to rebuild the quake damaged area within a year. Well, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins me
now from Adana, in the Southern Turkish region, which is inside the impact zone. Jomana, the death toll is, of course, continuing to rise and hope is
fading for many of those survivors. What is the situation in Adana right now? How are they coping?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Christina, Adana is one of those cities parts of the 10 provinces that have been impacted by
this quake, this massive earthquake zone. Here you don't see the sort of wide scale destruction that you see in other parts of the quake zone.
What you see here is sites like this there are scattered around the city where you have buildings that are still standing with little or no damage.
And then you've got buildings like this, in the midst of that that have been flattened, and you've got search and rescue teams that have been
working around the clock for nearly 72 hours now since the earthquake struck.
And they are continuing to search for survivors. I mean, here at this site, this was a 14 storey residential building. People are telling us there were
about 100 people living in this building families, young children, so many people that you know, their family members, friends, have all gathered here
waiting to see and find out what happened to them.
People have been holding on to the hope that maybe they'll be able to rescue more people. Thousands across the country have been pulled from
under the rubble. But also you're seeing this death toll continuing to rise. And as this goes on, longer and longer, people are starting to lose
I mean, we were speaking to a young man a short time ago who said he's here waiting for news of his cousin, a 25-year-old who was in the building when
the quake hit. And he was very emotional Christina. And he just started crying and saying, well, the only thing we can do right now is pray. And
this is what you're seeing here.
You have people who have camped out here. You've got tents that have been set up by the Turkish relief agencies. You've got food stations that have
been set up. A lot of people who have nowhere to go to right now they've either their homes have been damaged, or they just can't go back home
because it's not safe.
They're all out here as well as those who are just waiting and trying to find out what happened to their loved ones? I mean, so far, they haven't
pulled any survivors out of the wreckage over the past couple of days, only dead bodies.
I mean, just today in the past few hours, we heard that they managed to retrieve three bodies. We spoke to a man earlier who lives in this
neighborhood and he was one of the first people on the scene when the quake struck and he says that they did initially pull someone out who is alive
but he died on the way to the hospital.
So right now it's this really anxious way really nerve racking for so many people who are just sitting out here in the bitter cold. I mean, in the
past hour or so it has really, really gone cold. We expect temperatures to drop to freezing levels across the quake zone tonight and you've got people
just out here waiting for any news hoping for good news. But right now it's not looking very good at this site at least Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes, as you say with each passing hour hope beginning to fade. Jomana Karadsheh there live for us and Adana. Thanks very much for now
Well, in Syria, a story of hope intermingled with overwhelming sadness. And a warning some viewers may find this distressing. A newborn baby girl was
pulled out of the rubble in Northern Syria; her umbilical cord was still attached to her mother who was found dead.
The baby is now living in an incubator at the hospital in Afrin. The infant is the sole survivor of her immediate family. The rest of them were killed
when the earthquake flattened the family home in a nearby rebel held town.
Some of the most heartbreaking moments of this tragedy involve a parent losing a child. These images of intimate grief while difficult to look at
also tell a bigger story of quake disaster. 15-year-old Imrat Kanasa (ph) didn't make it out of the rubble alive but her dad stayed by her side,
holding her hand as her lifeless body lies under slabs of concrete.
And while aid is pouring into Turkey, there are concerns Syria could be left behind. The earthquake zone is also a conflict zone controlled by
disparate groups. And that makes getting aid there much more complicated.
You can take a deeper dive into this in our newsletter "Meanwhile in the Middle East" just log on to cnn.com/mideastnewsletter. Now, "Connect the
MACFARLANE: Ukraine's President takes his appeal for more weapons directly to European leaders, including a talk with a former Air Force pilot, who is
now King of England. Plus, U.S. President Joe Biden lays out his accomplishments in his annual State of the Union address, but not without
boos and cheers from Republican lawmakers.
MACFARLANE: A quick look now at our top story. The death toll from Monday's devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has climbed to more
than 11,000. Some 125 aftershocks have rattled Turkey, and more than 5700 buildings have collapsed. Crews are racing against time to find survivors
beneath the rubble.
Cold weather is making the rescue efforts even more difficult. Well earlier Wednesday, Turkey's president visited an Emergency Relief Area near the
epicenter of the powerful quake. He says the goal is to rebuild the city within a year. And as we've mentioned countries around the world are
sending help to the disaster zone including Israel.
It sent searches medical teams and supplies to Turkey and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has approved a request for aid from Syria.
Damascus denies making any such request. Israel and Syria have no formal relations and in fact, are technically still at war.
Well, Irit Lillian is the Israeli Ambassador to Turkey. She joins us now from Ankara. Ambassador, thank you for joining us. We know that time is of
the essence now for these rescue crews. You have committed to send aid to Turkey and Syria. Can you tell us where that aid currently is and what aid
IRIT LILLIAN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY: I can speak only about the aid to Turkey. And as until now we have provided the search and rescue teams
who started working yesterday night and by today they even manage to take out of the rebels five people. Unfortunately, one of them died on the way
to the hospital. And right now, while we are speaking, they're very busy trying to take out a kid out of the rubble.
Tomorrow morning, we will actually - we provided we are the first country to provide a field hospital to Turkey. We already started accumulating all
the necessary equipment needed for the hospital from the airplanes that started to be coming one by one now. And hopefully by tomorrow latest the
day after we are going to have the Israeli field hospital operating and catering for the wounded.
MACFARLANE: Can you tell us how large these field hospitals will be the capacity of them and also where they will be located?
LILLIAN: It is going to; it's going to be located in Marrakech, actually very close to a hospital, which was very severely damaged. The hospital,
the local hospital cannot operate and our hospital is going to be not only a substitute, but the two hospitals are going to be are going to work
together. Well, I believe that the services we're going to offer the population there are going to be a little bit different from each other.
MACFARLANE: I understand that you said you can only talk to Turkey. But we do need to talk about Syria. As I was saying earlier, Benjamin Netanyahu
received a message for help from Syria, Syria have denied that. Can you confirm if you have sent aid to Syria?
LILLIAN: I'm sorry, just since I'm the ambassador to Turkey, I cannot give any details about aid to Syria, but to try and say again, Israel extended a
helping hand to Syria, knowing that in these kinds of situations, politics plays a role. I can just mention the fact that in 2012, while Israeli and
Turkey were at odds, Turkey came to help Israel in the extinguishing fires on the Mount of Carmel.
So, I tend to believe that, you know, we are all humans, and our call was a sincere call that has nothing to do with politics, though, I'm sorry, but I
have no information about the type of aid that we can or will provide to Syria.
MACFARLANE: You say it has nothing to do with politics on your side on Israel side. Are you therefore saying that it does have something to do
with politics on Syria side?
LILLIAN: I tend to believe that it is very terrible moments, people are just you know, crying for help, then the international community should
just unite and try and assist as much as possible. And it is up to Syria to decide which kind of help they're receiving or not.
MACFARLANE: A final question on this, we have heard reports that Israel are trying to send aid through a corridor in Jordan. Do you know anything about
the access from Turkey to Syria and the difficulties that rescue crews are experiencing there and just transferring aid from one country to the other?
LILLIAN: I know that there are problems but they learn about it mostly from the local media. As for us we are concentrating on the Turkey side, we are
concentrating on saving life, on donating and bringing humanitarian help to people who are staying out in the cold.
Because as terrible as the earthquake is and it is extremely terrible, is also extremely difficult for the people to cope with the weather at nights
are extremely cold, and these people were left with nothing. I should also mention that many of the people living in the affected areas are people who
already let lost their homes once while they were still living in Syria.
There are many refugees living in these areas. And it is heart-breaking. It is heart-breaking to see them. And the very least we can do is just to do
what we are doing now setting out.
MACFARLANE: I know that you are calling this aid mission Operation Olive Branch. As it appears obvious when I speak to you now, how important is it
for nations where there are diplomatic tensions to put those tensions aside in order to help people in need at this moment.
LILLIAN: It happened so many times in the past in so many countries, that people managed to put their attentions aside for a while and really
concentrate on the human aspect of such disasters that people are just willing to help each other in times of distress. And we've seen it all over
the world. And this is the case here as well. We call it Olive Branch, because we do believe that aid is one of the most important features of
peace between peoples.
MACFARLANE: It's an important message. We thank you ambassador for joining us. I know you're extremely busy at this time and we wish you the very best
for your search and rescue missions in Turkey as things stand. Thank you.
LILLIAN: Thank you very much. Thank you.
MACFARLANE: Ukraine's President making a pair of surprise visits to European capitals today taking his appeal for more weapons directly to
European leaders. Volodymyr Zelenskyy's first stop was London and he plans to later visit Paris.
He met with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London and then address parliament. Mr. Zelenskyy is vowing that if he gets the weapons, he needs
Ukraine will defeat its Russian invaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Do you have a feeling that the evil will crumble once again? I can see in your eyes now. We think the same
way as you do. We know freedom will win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: After speaking to Parliament, Mr. Zelenskyy went to Buckingham Palace to meet King Charles the third. King Charles was once an Air Force
pilot and Mr. Zelenskyy said he would tell - that in Ukraine, Air Force pilots are treated like kings.
Well, CNN's Scott McLean has been tracking the London part of Mr. Zelenskyy's day; he joins us now live outside the UK Parliament. Scott,
this was no doubt an incredibly powerful moment in Westminster Hall, as we saw, as it was last year when he addressed a U.S. Congress.
Obviously, he was pushing his message that the need for fighter pilots, how far do you think Britain are willing to go in that regard? What has been
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What clearly further than before Christina that is the bottom line. Obviously, President Zelenskyy wanted to make
clear that his country was extremely grateful for the support that it has already gotten. But he also made clear that they are looking for a heck of
a lot more. And top of their wish list from a weapons standpoint, they have said are long range missiles.
And President Zelenskyy mentioned very clearly today that they are also looking for NATO fighter jets. Now he had about an hour drive from the
airport to Downing Street to convince British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of this. The Brits had already announced before this meeting even took place
that they were offering Ukraine more sanctions on Russia.
They were offering more training for Ukrainian troops and part of that training also included training on NATO standard fighter jets. The one
caveat though, Christina is that that training doesn't actually include the jets themselves. Now Downing Street and the Defense Ministry both tried to
clarify today saying that no decision has been made on whether to provide jets.
But clearly providing this training would at least allow Ukrainian pilots to fly the jets were they to provide them down the road. Polish, French,
Dutch leaders have already expressed openness to sending the jets. But the UK up until now has said that it's just not that practical, given the
complexity of these machines and given how long the actual training takes. But today, President Zelenskyy seemed very confident that his country would
get them listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENSKYY: Living British Parliament two years ago, I thanked you for delicious English tea. And I will be living the parliament today thanking
all of you in advance for powerful English planes
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: So, some laughter there and also a bit of applause there, Christina now part of the reluctance for many countries in the West to sending
fighter jets and sending long range missiles is that they would make it easier for Ukraine to strike inside of Russian territory, not just Russian
held territory, but Russia itself which could potentially escalate the war something that they are trying hard to avoid.
Ukraine has downplayed that. They're also seeking specifically long-range missiles that can fire up to 300 kilometers. And while the UK today didn't
offer that what they did say in their message is that they would offer Ukraine longer range capabilities though they didn't clarify what precisely
that means, Christina?
MACFARLANE: Yes, British tea, President Zelenskyy always knows how to target his audience, doesn't he? And so, what message Scott to these
pictures of Zelenskyy with the Prime Minister addressing Parliament even meeting the King what messages did he send to Russia to Putin at a time
when Putin is claiming support from the west is waning?
MCLEAN: Yes, surely almost a year into the war, this sends a very clear message to President Putin that Western allies are in this for the long
haul, especially considering that this training is going to be taking months and months. So, this is a very long-term investment.
And so, if President Putin was banking on a war that would be over in a matter of months, or at least years in a way to wear down Ukraine's resolve
and wear down the West's resolve to actually support the Ukrainians, today's meeting made abundantly clear that that's not going to be the case,
MACFARLANE: Alright, Scott McLean there live outside the Houses of Parliament. Thank you, Scott. And London, you know, it's not the only stop
on Mr. Zelenskyy's agenda today. French President Emmanuel Macron says the Ukrainian leader will visit Paris later today.
And while there he will meet with both Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Just this week, Germany approved a plan to send more than 100 of
its Leopard 1 battle tanks to Ukraine. CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Paris for that side of the story. And so, Jim, we know what Zelenskyy is asking from
the UK that is very clear. What is he going to want from Paris and Berlin?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a very similar shopping list that basically the fighter jets are the big one on
his list. Apparently, the Ukrainians have made it very clear; they'd like to stand up about 24 planes due to squadrons of combat aircraft. And while
the U.S. has ruling out F-16s, the UK left the question open.
Germany has basically said that they will not be sending any of their F-16s in the near future. One of the French don't have any F-16. But they do have
Mirage 2000s, which President Macron has basically said that nothing is off the table, as far as he's concerned in terms of weapons assistance to
So, it's conceivable that that might be something that would be in the French offer. Something just to add to what Scott was saying there is that
the pilot training, according to a French General; it's something that's been kind of ongoing now, for some time that the pilots have been sent to
the United States to train up on various types of aircraft, which might include some of these combat aircraft.
It's not known, but in any case, there is at least some kind of a plan going on here. Another thing that should be added to this is that, in fact,
while President Zelenskyy is making the rounds of European capitals, and putting in his request, a lot of these requests came in some time ago.
In fact, the Defense Minister of Ukraine was here about nine days ago or so. And he was already presenting his shopping list to the defense
authorities here. So basically, this sort of thing has been on the table. It's been on in consideration. We'll see what comes out of this meeting
And we believe it's going to be a dinner, nothing gets screened in front by the presidential palace here, basically other than the fact that Scholz and
Zelenskyy are coming, but we believe they're going to have dinner here. We're not sure Zelenskyy is going to spend the night, but he's also
expected up in Brussels tomorrow. So that's about as far as what we know right now, Christina.
MACFARLANE: Yes, so perhaps not as public seen a display as we saw here in London today. Jim Bittermann there with the latest live from Paris. Thanks
so much, Jim. Now, Dutch investigators say there are "Strong indications" that Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the downing of
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014.
The investigators believe Putin made the decision to provide Ukrainian separatists with an air defense system used to shoot down the plane. But
they caution the high bar of full and conclusive evidence has not been met. And as Head of State Putin has immunity from prosecution.
All right, just ahead a warning of a catastrophic situation in northwest Syria, are the quake victims there being neglected. And in his State of the
Union speech, Joe Biden issued a warning now China is responding to his message about competing with Beijing.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back, I'm Christina Macfarlane in London. Rescuers say they're in a race against time and plunging temperatures to find more
survivors from Monday's powerful earthquake in southern Turkey and neighboring Syria. More people are dying in the rubble. Officials now say
the combined death toll in both countries is pushing towards 12,000.
And we're told that could climb dramatically. This disaster has brought more heartache to a region already racked by war and poverty. Connect the
World Anchor Becky Anderson traveled to near the quake's epicenter, where grief and relief go hand in hand amid a very uncertain future.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD (voice over): From underneath the destruction, a momentary sigh of relief. The search and rescue teams
find a sign of life while sifting through the rubble. But seconds later, another lifeless body is found.
Monday's devastating quake has left an ever-growing desktop and its thousands leaving families across Turkey and Syria without homes and
without loved ones. As the snow falls grief has been compounded with freezing conditions. Huddled around a small fire survivors worry about
friends and relatives still trapped under the rubble. Forbidden by authorities to intervene, Murat Alinak says he just wants to help recover
his relatives to give them a proper send off.
MURAT ALINAK, QUAKE SURVIVOR: We are under the snow without a home without anything, we can overcome this we can fast for 40 days and still overcome
this. But let us recover for the funerals.
ANDERSON (voice over): International aid has poured in from all corners of the world. France, Mexico, Germany and India are some of the countries who
have pledged to step up efforts. Planes carrying supplies from Iran and Iraq, also arriving in Damascus on Tuesday as C17 cargo planes from the UAE
flew quickly to the quake-stricken area.
UMUR ZAMANOGLU, TURKISH SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM LEADER: Now 25,000 of the Turkish search and rescue crew is on the mission and more estimated 5000
people is coming from the other country.
ANDERSON (voice over): Back in Gaziantep, survivors at this gas station are desperately trying to fill up and find safety away from the destruction.
Barters lines stretched throughout the airport with cancellations expected for at least three days. And Turkey's Erdogan declaring a state of
emergency for the next three months passengers slowly resigned to the fact that there may be no escape anytime soon. Becky Anderson, CNN Gaziantep.
MACFARLANE: Now outpouring of support from the international community workers at this aid distribution center in Istanbul Turkey are busy
handling dozens of packages from across the world. Emergency workers are also descending on Turkey.
Here's the contingent from Mexico bringing much needed equipment and rescue dogs you can see there. India center second playing carrying relief and
disaster response personnel to Turkey on Tuesday. And the UK is also pledging continued support as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is obviously an incredibly tragic situation that we're all seeing in Turkey and Syria. I want everyone to
know that we are doing what we can to provide support; we're in touch with the authorities in both Syria and Turkey. And specifically, we are in the
process of sending 77 search and rescue experts to Turkey that's the most immediate need that they have communicated to us that we can help with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Well, the earthquake has caused significant damage to a major road to a crucial border crossing between Turkey and Syria. The crossing is
the only humanitarian aid corridor approved by the UN between the two countries. And the damage is slowing relief efforts while aid is being
rushed to Turkey.
Syria is in danger of being left behind; Iran, Iraq and some other countries have sent relief. But Syria's permanent representative to the UN
says sanctions on Syria are preventing aid from reaching those in need. It says many cargo planes are refusing to land in Syria imports.
Syria's government is also ramping up its calls for the removal of crippling sanctions. The U.S. says sanctions include exceptions that do not
prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
So in Syria where the greatest enemy is now time, politics also appears to be complicating matters. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joining us now live from
Istanbul. Salma, before we get to the issue of Syria, just tell us where you are and how the efforts are going there at the distribution point in
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So last hour, I brought you to the other side of this distribution center where they were packing boxes here.
I want to show you the other part of this operation, really, you have this human chain here, at some point, and they're going to start picking up
boxes, again, the boxes that were packed.
On the other side, again, we're in this massive hangar where hundreds, literally hundreds of volunteers have come to help out, do what they can.
Each and every one of these people just want to give a sense of solidarity. You're going to see them passing on these boxes, these boxes are filled
with donations, just things from ordinary citizens, business groups, and they're loading them up into these huge trucks.
And they're going straight to that earthquake zone. Each of these boxes is packed with non-medical aides. So, think of clothes, blankets, food, dried
goods. In particular, everybody, look at this, you have heaters here. So many people were affected, this is a good point to make so many people were
affected by those images of the families just huddled in the cold and dark and trying to get some more, get some shelter.
So, the hope here is, is that maybe one more child could get a meal today, one more family would not have to go without a place to sleep tonight would
be able to have a blanket would be able to have a bit of food. You've heard a lot about how there's no water, no fuel, no resources in many of these
more remote areas.
Just imagine the scope and scale of this disaster, some 23 million people estimated affected. So, no help is going to be enough. You can just see the
enormity of this scale just here in Istanbul, of course, a major city but just here in Istanbul of the amount of charity donations. And again, a
reminder, this is coming from individuals and businesses.
This is just people trying to help; they are trying to fill that gap between what the government can provide and what the need is on the ground.
That's why you see all those waters, all these little bottles of water, of course, the fear that infrastructure is not available here. And every time
one of these trucks gets loaded up, and it happens quickly.
We see it, you know, there it seems almost every hour, we see one of these trucks loaded up sent to that quake zone. Everybody can start scrapping
cheering and moving on to the next one. It's a 24-hour operation to help. Yes, international aid is coming in. But Turks, they want to help each
other. There is a true sense of community and solidarity here.
MACFARLANE: Yes. And it is heart-warming, actually to see the collaboration and the spirits of the people behind you there. But there is a concern
Salma that not much if any of that aid is going to be able to reach Syria.
We have been saying that there are suggestions that the situation there is political, that the sanctions the EU and the U.S. sanctions are preventing
aid from getting through to where it's needed, particularly in the north. Are you learning anything more about that situation?
ABDELAZIZ: It's a very complicated picture on the ground. Just bear with me while I try to explain it. Now it does sound like I'm talking about
politics. But this is life or death at this moment. Northwest Syria is controlled by different authorities. You have a portion of northwest Syria,
that is still government held that is still run by the Damascus government.
That portion is of course subject to the sanctions that have been imposed by the United States and other western countries. So in that case,
President Bashar Al Assad's government is turning to the patrons of the war, Iran, Russia, Iraq, we've seen Russian soldiers on the ground that
have been part of that conflict.
I'm just going to move out of the way here while these guys get these boxes and who have been part of that conflict, helping pull people out of the
rubble. And again, because it sanctioned, that means the West cannot reach out directly to Damascus. On the other side, you have those rebel held
Now there was one corridor, one route between Turkey to those rebel held areas in Syria, that one corridor that's been impacted by the earthquake
that's been damaged that is now in accessible. And so far, negotiations with the government with the Damascus government have been unable to reach
any conclusion have been unable to form any route.
And you have to remember, there is a true lack of trust here. These rebel areas have been bombarded by President Bashar Al Assad for nearly 12 years
now. They hardly believe that this government is now going to turn around and start saving them and helping them. In all of that politics means lives
lost in those areas where people are absolutely suffering under yet another tragedy.
MACFARLANE: Yes, it's hard to think about what may be occurring inside Syria. We are hearing that perhaps a few more roots are opening up but it
is a desperate situation as you say. Salma, thank you for now, we will leave you to that operation behind you there live from Istanbul, Salma
MACFARLANE: And for more information on how to help earthquake survivors go to cnn.com/impact you'll find a list of organizations working on rescue and
relief efforts. That is cnn.com/impact. All right, coming up disappointment and scorn from China as a response to Joe Biden State of the Union address,
we'll get reaction from Beijing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: U.S. President Joe Biden has delivered his first State of the Union with a Republican majority in the Lower House. The President was
repeatedly booed and heckled and even called a liar by Republican lawmakers when he proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage. I get it unless I agree to their
economic plans. Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share some Republicans, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security sunset. I'm
not saying it's the majority.
Let me give you, anybody who doubts it, contact my office. I'll give you a copy. I'll give you a copy of the proposal. And this congress doesn't vote.
Well, I'm glad to see and I tell you, I enjoy conversion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: On the China balloon incursion, the president went on the offensive saying the decision to shoot down the balloon was about
protecting American sovereignty as a sign of strength. He also made loudest his government's response to the war in Ukraine, telling the American
people the U.S. had kept its promise of standing against tyranny in defense of freedom and democracy.
Earlier the Ukrainian President thanked Mr. Biden for his show of support in that speech. China has responded to President Biden's address strongly
objecting to his framing of the two countries relationship as largely a competitive one. Selina Wang has more on the reaction now from Beijing.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. President Joe Biden directly called out Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a State of the Union speech. He said
autocracies have grown weaker around the world and said no one would want the Chinese leader's job. Take a listen to this fiery part of his speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Namely a world leader who changed places with Xi Jinping name me one, name me one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WANG: Biden did not directly mention the U.S. shooting down a suspected Chinese spy balloon. But he did say "Make no mistake about it. As we made
clear last week if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country and we did". In response, Beijing has accused the U.S. of
smearing China under the "Banner of competition" and restricting China's legitimate right to develop.
WANG: China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson added that China does not fear competition, but opposes using competition to define the
entire U.S. China relationship. Now, from Beijing's perspective, this speech underscores their view that America is trying to keep the country
down and contain its rise.
And we have seen Beijing's rhetoric hardened significantly after the U.S. military shot down the balloon. They initially expressed regret for what
they claim as a civilian research balloon that drifted into U.S. airspace, a claim that the U.S. rejects.
But since shooting down the balloon, Beijing has accused the U.S. of overreacting and seriously violating international practice. But
ironically, in a state media documentary not long ago, China showed off its own Air Force shooting down in another country spy balloon and praise the
move as heroic.
And China's Ambassador to France, Lu Shaye claimed in a French TV interview on Monday that China has likely shot down suspicious balloons in the past
that have flown over China's airspace. But he said he doesn't have hard evidence. And that every time China kept the instances under the radar.
Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.
MACFARLANE: Well, the U.S. Navy is sending debris from the Chinese suspected spy balloon to an FBI lab for analysis. Fighter jets shot down
the balloon over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday. A Taiwan has also been the target of Chinese balloons. And it says the incident shouldn't be tolerated
by the international community. CNN's Will Ripley has more from Taipei.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This Chinese propaganda video released just days ago shows the military muscle
of China's People's Liberation Army. The PLA promising to reunite with Taiwan planning to build up bullet train across the Taiwan Strait, pledging
to take control of this island of almost 24 million, bringing this self- governing democracy under communist control. One of the Chinese military's tools, high altitude balloons; they've been testing them for years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just shot it.
RIPLEY (voice over): The U.S. shot down this suspected Chinese spy balloon last week, Beijing calls it a civilian weather balloon. CNN obtained images
of similar Chinese balloons hovering over Taiwan in recent months, including this one on New Year's Eve, and this one a few months earlier.
At least four balloon sightings in the last two years says Su Tzu-Yun, Director of Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
He says the islands relatively small size about the same as the state of Florida gives Taiwan's military limited time to intercept balloons or even
shoot them down.
SU TZU-YUN, DIRECTOR, TAIWAN'S INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY RESEARCH: The spy balloon crossed to Montana State, a very important ICBM
site of the United States.
RIPLEY (voice over): Su says balloons can capture high resolution images of sensitive sites, potentially making China's ICBMs more accurate. Taipei
says Chinese spy balloons should not be tolerated by the international community.
Last year, dozens of civilian drones from China captured videos of Taiwanese military outposts, soldiers responded with rocks and flares,
managing to shoot at least one drone down. Taiwan's defense ministry says 121 Chinese military planes flew near the island just last month.
LEV NACHMAN, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, TAIPEI: So, Taiwan is one of those places that is constantly under this kind of threatening surveillance.
RIPLEY (voice over): Taipei based Political Scientist Lev Nachman tells me the balloon scandal sets back months of crucial diplomacy. U.S. China
tensions could flare up even more. If U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy goes ahead with plans to visit Taiwan following former Speaker Nancy
Pelosi's trip last year, triggering Chinese outrage and massive military drills around Taiwan. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
MACFARLANE: Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. Arrest site in North Korea Leader Kim Jong-Un visited a
barracks of military officers with his daughter and his wife. They were marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army
according to state media.
Kim's daughter is believed to be his second child. Indonesian officials have spoken to reporters about the searches underway for a pilot taken
hostage in Indonesia's remote Highlands on Tuesday. Local authorities have identified the captain as Philip Mertens, a pilot from New Zealand.
Mertens is believed to have been captured by a rebel group who set fire to his plane after landing. It is unclear at the five passengers including a
baby were also abducted. The sports were paused Tuesday night to celebrate King James.
MACFARLANE: Lebron James scored the 38,388 points in his career on a jump shot no less, breaking the all-time scoring record held by Kareem Abdul-
Jabbar. James broke down in tears during the ceremony held after the basket. All right ahead on "Connect the World", stories of hope amidst the
tragedy in Turkey and Syria.
MACFARLANE: Returning to our top story now. There are growing questions from survivors of Monday's devastating earthquake in southern Turkey and
neighboring Syria. They want to know where the government is. The Turkish president announced there have been some problems with anchorage response
as he visited the disaster zone earlier.
Nearly 12,000 people have been killed with tens of thousands injured. Rescuers are still trying to find anyone alive under heaps of rubble even
as the bitter cold begins to bite. Well CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers is back with us to look at the weather impacting the rescue efforts and what's
going on with those aftershocks Chad, which we hope are beginning to subside now.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They are, although there was a 5.0 about two hours ago on the northern part up here near Elbistan just to the south of
there. So yes, we've had maybe a couple of dozen over the past 24 hours, but nothing in red. Any one of these in red would indicate in the past
So, calming down slightly along the frontal boundary here the Anatolian plate in the Arabian plate, that's where those two plates clash together.
They were locked in place for decades, all of a sudden, on Sunday night they decided to not be locked up anymore, and they slid. This is what we're
seeing for temperatures right now in the single digits certainly.
And even for tonight, the cold air continues to rush in. At least we don't have any more snow in the forecast like we had in the early part of this.
So for the most part, we are going to be in the single digits tonight, we are going to be all the way down likely to 10 below zero especially in the
northern part of the damage up here because there is snow on the ground.
When there's snow on the ground that holds the heat that's in the ground in the ground itself and doesn't allow that to come out. And temperatures are
always colder when there's snow on the ground compared to when there's not. Now the sun is out. That is some good news.
So during the day, temperatures are five or 10 above zero, that's something good. But by the time we get into the night time, temperatures certainly
get much, much colder five to 10 degrees below where we should be this time of year over this entire region.
We'll keep watching it for you, still not seeing any red circles here. That's the good news. Those are the aftershocks and even the 5.0,
Christina; the 5.0 with damaged buildings already could still make more damage to those structures that are completely compromised. Christina?
MACFARLANE: Yes, that 5.0 as you say Chad just two hours ago, so clearly a danger. Thank you so much there, Chad Myers.
MYERS: You're welcome.
MACFARLANE: Well, amidst all the destruction and despair in Turkey and Syria, there have been moments of hope, relief and celebration. This is a
video of a young girl Miriam comforting her brother Elaf. You can see how she touches his forehead and tries to keep the toddler calm. They're
waiting to be rescued from under the rubble of their house in a small village in Syria.
MACFARLANE: During the rescue, Miriam is told to stay strong and not to cry. Finally the children are seen getting carried to safety to shouts of
relief. We understand that the little girl and her brother are now well.
Their father said after the quake hit in the middle of the night, they prayed out loud, their neighbors heard them and that is how they were
rescued. A note of hope to end the show on there, do stay with us though. "One World" with Lynda Kinkade is up after the break.