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U.S. and its Allies Fighting ISIS; U.S. Fighting Khorasan; Syrian Fighter Plane Shot Down in Israel Airspace; Fighting Wildfires in California

Aired September 24, 2014 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. is at war with ISIS, and that`s not the only terrorist group America is targeting in the Middle East. I`m Carl

Azuz at the CNN Center. Thank you for watching today.

The U.S. led airstrikes against terrorist organizations Monday night, they included missiles as you just saw, and they included warplanes, fighters

and bombers aiming at ISIS terrorists, their training grounds, their supply trucks and their control centers.

A human rights group in Syria estimates that more than 70 ISIS terrorists were killed. CNN cannot confirm that.

What`s different about these strikes, they are in Syria, a country currently at civil war. Previously, U.S. airstrikes had been limited to

ISIS targets in Iraq.

Also, the attacks weren`t made the U.S. alone. Other Middle Eastern nations including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates,

participated in strikes against ISIS. Some analysts say the U.S. waited too long to lead these strikes in Syria, that the terrorists have already

entrenched themselves, and that it will take more than airstrikes to eliminate them.

The U.S. says this is only the beginning of its action against ISIS. Separately, the U.S. acted alone in targeting another terrorist group,



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a group in western Syria, near Aleppo, clear on the other side of the country from where they struck ISIS. They had

been watching them for some time, by all accounts, and believed that these al Qaeda operatives were in the final stages of executing the plan to

attack U.S. and - or Western targets. The intelligence was showing that they were in the stages of the ability to make non-detectable explosives

and put them in very common items such as electronics or toiletries, the type of thing that the U.S. worried could make it past the airport

screening, obviously.


AZUZ: So, that`s why the U.S. struck Khorasan targets. But does President Obama need congressional approval to do it?

In 2001, Congress authorized any U.S. president to use military force against groups that participated in the September 11 attacks on America.

Al Qaeda led that attack, Khorasan is an al Qaeda affiliate.

So, the White House says it does not need congressional approval.

One major side effect of all the violence in Syria, refugees, flowing in the neighboring Turkey.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At least 158,000 mostly Syrian Kurdish refugees have crossed Syria into Turkey over the last few days. This is

just one of those border crossings that`s hundreds, if not thousands of people coming through exhausted, dejected, covered in the layer of dust,

many of them thirsty and hungry, especially difficult and grueling conditions for the children and the elderly, many of whom waited on the

other side of the border overnight before Turkish authorities finally allowed them through. A lot of the adults themselves breaking down as they

spoke, not only of the ordeal that they went through, but of the homes and the lives that they left behind.

The U.S. airstrikes at this stage are being by and large welcomed by a number of Syrian opposition activists that we have been speaking to. One

of them inside the city of Raqqa saying, if I could dance I would, but I`m too afraid to do so and that is because, he says ISIS had long cleared out

of its main headquarters, the various buildings at the U.S. and its coalition allies were striking in Raqqa quite some time ago, in the

anticipation of these airstrikes and that they were increasing their presence inside the streets, but also he was saying, inside people`s homes.

The Syrian observatory for human rights at this state reporting at least 70 militants killed, some 300 wounded, some of those wounded being ferried

across the border into Iraq.

When it comes to the result of this U.S. and coalition airstrikes and how ISIS is going to react to that, we are just going to have to wait and see.

There`s only one thing that is certain, and that is that ISIS is not an organization that is going to evaporate or be defeated easily. Arwa Damon,

CNN, at the Syria-Turkey border crossing.


AZUZ: Israel shares a border with Syria. It says that border is very unstable. When a Syrian fighter jet flew into Israeli airspace yesterday,

Israel shot it down. The pilots ejected before the plane crashed.

An observer group says they were targeting militants in a Syrian town near the border. But their apparent crossover into Israeli airspace is another

example of how Syria`s civil war could affect nearby countries. Israel fought and won a war with Syria and other neighboring nations in 1967. It

says it doesn`t want to get involved in Syria`s civil war, but that Israel will do whatever it needs to to protect its citizens.


AZUZ: So, we`ve got this segment called "Roll Call." It`s a chance to have your school announced on CNN STUDENT NEWS. There`s now only one way

to submit a request and you need to be at least 13 years old. Go to, click words says "Roll Call." And leave a comment at

the bottom of our transcript page. We`ll pick three schools from each day`s transcript. You can make one request every day, but spamming will

not help you. Please, tell us your school name, city, state and mascot. Good luck.

There`s several wildfires burning up parts of drought-stricken California. Officials say, just one of them, the King fire, cost more than $5 million a

day to fight.

One way firefighters do that is by setting new fires, a controlled burn can clear out any vegetation that could fuel a wildfire before it gets there.

It`s one way to create a barrier to the blaze.


CHIEF KEM PIMLOTT, CALIFORNIA FIRE DIRECTOR: Unprecedented conditions. California right now is really the primary focus in the country, literally,

for fire activity.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a battle happening in California and it`s being fought in the sky and on the ground.

In recent days, there have been 12 fires burning throughout the state and at least 6,000 firefighters are trying to get them contained.

These wildfire is called the King fire, burning about 50 miles east of Sacramento, as you can see , there`s just so much smoke and it`s really

tough on your eyes being out here. This is the time of the year when wildfires are out there worse, because the ground and the trees have been

baking all summer long and the heat, and because of the drought, this could be the most destructive wildfire season on record.

You can see and you can certainly feel how dry this brush is, and with this drought lasting three years now, there is no shortage of fuel to keep these

fires burning.

When the terrain is this steep, it`s really critical that you get support from the air, and it`s always so impressive to see those DC-10 air tankers

dropping 12,000 gallons of red fire retardant, fire crews really have to evaluate their options when they send all the resources, especially when

you have so many fires burning at once.

The worst fire we`ve seen this time around, has been in the town of Weed, California. That`s near the Oregon border. The fire engulfed more than

100 homes and damaged nearly 100 more. It also burned the community library and destroyed two churches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just one those things you watch on TV all the time and you never think things are going to happen to you.

Fires move a lot quicker than you think. They get started, you better be up moving.

SIMON: And with this bone dry condition, the fear as you can see a lot more devastation, as firefighters race from blaze to blaze.


AZUZ: Now that you know how to get on "Roll Call" here is who is being featured today. Starting in the northeast, Erie, Pennsylvania, we`ve got

the Braves of Iroquois Junior Senior High School. Go Braves! To Petal, Mississippi. It`s great to see the Panthers watching from Petal High

School. And in the Midwestern city of Omaha in Nebraska, there is a storm brewing at Elkhorn Ridge Middle School.

Didn`t have any cheetahs as mascots in the "Roll Call". Maybe it`s because people don`t trust them.

But we do before we go, check out these cheetah cubs. Two females born about three weeks ago at the San Diego zoo. Their just recently opened.

They weigh about three pounds each, and they are being bottle fed because their mom wasn`t doing her job.

They`ll each get a dog to hang out with when they are old enough, assuming the dogs don`t mind the cat in caboodle. They can`t unhandled (ph) it if

they are feline like it, and though we`ve cub to the end of hours musecast, we hope you`ll cat to watch it again tomorrow. I`m Carl Azuz.