president that done so. for more, go to aljazeera.com. government gains on the ground in syria, now both sides casting doubt on talks in geneva. i have the world news from al jazeera, also coming up, a blow for donald trump and a nail biting result for hillary clinton in the first vote in the long race to the white house. the link between the zika virus and birth fee effects, labeled guilty until proven innocent. google's parent company overtakes apple as the world's most valuable company.
>> the syrian delegation cast talks on the peace talks. the government is taking town after town in aleppo supported by russian airstrikes. the opposition in geneva says russia is actively undermining the peace process. it continues to bomb the areas. in jordan, british foreign secretary phillip hammond condemned russia's airstrikes in syria. >> a couple of months ago, it was a steady trickle of people returning to their homes from syria in this camp did he spite what is going on in the country.
that has now stopped and a new tired of refugees heading in this direction because of the russia bombing, russia cannot continue to sit at the table as a sponsor of the political process and at the same time, be bombing the civilian areas of the groups of people that we believe will form the backbone of the new syria once assad is gone. >> we've seep a situation on the ground in syria, but what about the efforts in geneva to end the conflicts? let's speak to muhammed. the bombing of civilians is exactly what the syrian opposition in geneva has been calling for, the end of the bombing, anyway. they've been calling for that. in the last hour, we've heard from both the syrian delegation and main opposition delegation. tell us what they have been saying. >> i can tell you that the mood here at the u.n. has really
changed since last night. last night it seemed momentum had been achieved. the u.n. was saying they believed these talks had begun in earnest. today we are hearing a lot of pessimism expressed by both the syrian regime and opposition. in the last half hour, you had the main opposition negotiating body, they've been involved in meetings, most of the morning. several of their representatives came out, addressed the press and talked about how their demands to enter into these negotiations haven't been met. in syria, there must be relief for the millions suffering throughout that country, let's listen to the chief spokesperson for the h.n.c. >> it's important for us to see
the lift of the suffer of these people, we need to see the lift of the siege on these children who starve to death. it's important to stop this bombardment from the russian side and now since last night, a big massacre taking place in syria, and nobody is saying anything, nobody is doing anything. i don't know if the international community is completely blind or they don't want to do anything. we are here to note if they are keen to do anything, we are waiting for that. >> the opposition is saying today that they are committed to the idea of peace talks. that's why they are here and have shown up. they again are reiterating their demands, the things they say need to happen in order to enter into these proximity talks in earnest. you see the syrian opposition saying they completely distrust
the syrian regime and wonder wipe the international community aren't pressing the regime to do more. they had a meeting with staffan de mistura, the head of the syrian delegation here for the government. he came out and essentially laid blame for the failure for anything to happen so far at the feet of the syrian opposition, saying that even simple procedural matters like getting a list of who exactly was representing the syrian opposition, that even that hadn't been cleared and nothing could proceed until even that happens. let's take a listen to a little more of what he told reporters after every exited his meeting with staffan de mistura. >> the other party is not genuine or serious enough. we have heard certain statements made by the representatives of the other party here.
>> where do they go from here then? what happens next? >> that's really the question of the day. nobody would have thought this morning covering these talks after what happened last night, after what had seemingly been achieved that we would be back to square one today. we are not hearing anything new from either of the parties. the parties representing the regime for the parties representing the opposition here, the opposition is still saying that essentially they are not really going to enter these talks until they see their demand being met. the regime on the other hand is saying that they need to see good faith efforts on the part of the syrian opposition and
that they don't believe that has been achieved yet. it really doesn't bode well, and i think the fact that we have not had a statement from the u.n. today, especially from staffan de mistura, who last night has said he was going to eagerly press the case of humanitarian intervention with the syrian regime, that we have only heard silence on the part of the u.n. today goes to show how pessimistic things turned today and i think indicates the level of concern as of last night people thought this was back on track, as of today, at this hour, nobody really knows what's to come. >> thank you. reporting live from geneva. syrian government forces launched a major offensive in aleppo province, taking a centrically important town.
the all the way is pushing north, capturing town after town. the objective of this operation is to reach two loyalist towns, the shia towns. if the government is able to do that, they will be able to cut the road, the last remaining road, the supply route that the opposition uses to reach opposition controlled territories inside aleppo city. at the end of the day, if that road is cut, hundreds of thousands of people, we don't have the exact estimates, are going to be under siege in opposition controlled districts in aleppo. we also understand that hundreds of families are moving north, escaping the bombardment. like i mentioned. this will be a blow to the opposition. why? because as the government pushes toward the turkish border, they
cut their life lines and supply line almost aleppo that meaning for the opposition who believe in their revolution, because this is the last remaining stronghold of groups that fight under the free syrian early. this is one corner of syria. in another corner, activists call the forgetting corner, people are starving and living under fear. the u.s. secretary of state john kerry is describing a catastrophe in syria not seen since world war ii. john kerry has been speaking at a conference in rome about a fighting isil, a conference involving 23 other nations. >> the situation on the ground for the syrian people is unfathomable. we haven't seen away catastrophe like this since world war ii and it's unfolding before our eyes. people in madaya eating leaves
and grass or animals of one type or another that they can capture. >> we expect to hear from from john kerry in the next few minutes. diplomats have been meetinging rome to discuss the threat of isil in syria, iraq and libya, the press conference due to start in the next few minutes. we will bring it to you live here. let's bring in hasham in rome. tell us about this coalition against isil in iraq and syria. >> the gathering here in rome is an opportunity for the international coalition against isil to look into the progress mailed in the fight against isil
but also the areas where more has to be done. this is exactly why kerry today was talking more about the humanitarian catastrophe in syria, because some of the key regional players, countries like saudi arabia, and also turkey, have been saying that's why they are committed to continue being part that have international coalition, but for them, the problem is not only isil, the problem also is the continued presence of bashar al assad in power, and for the fight against isil to succeed, bashar al assad has to go. they are putting more pressure on the americans and the international key players to be active in the push to set assad aside and pave the way for the opposition and the different groups to form a national unity government in syria, because a general understanding among many key players in the coalition is that with airstrikes, you won't be able to dislodge isil, which
despite months of airstrikes, they still continue to control huge swaths of land in syria, particularly in raqqa and northern parts of iraq. >> so the isil controlling huge swaths of land as you say in syria, also in iraq, but another concern now is libya, as well, where they are said to be building a base. how is that affecting the situation? >> all indications suggest libya could become the top priority for the international coalition against isil. they've seen the group over the last few months expanding control in a coastal area that stretches east to sirte and west towards matata. from there, isil could launch
attacks against european targets and countries. here in lice the problem. they were hoping to see a libyan government operating on the ground with the national libyan army take on ice as i am. that i also not going to happen because of the political divide and because of the fighting between the different factions. i think now the best option for the international community is to call for a government to be formed but at the same time launch airstrikes once we have more intelligence about the strongholds, the positions of isil, the financing, and also their operation bases in different areas that control libya. >> for the moment, thank you very much indeed. of course we will return to you as soon as we hear from john kerry and the italian foreign minister in rome. in iraq, a car bomb killed at least 18 soldiers north of rimadi.
two other car bombs were expelled from the area. the government controls 90% of the area after heavy fighting in the last few weeks. >> to the united states now, hillary clinton's campaign team has declared victory in the first vote of an extremely close democratic nomination process. on the republican side, senator ted cruz beat donald trump. we have this report. >> for hours, it was a race too close to call. >> tonight, while the results are still not known, it looks like we are in a virtual tie. senator bernie sanders closed the gap with his anti establishment message, essentially shifting the he tone and dynamics of the democratic campaign. >> it is rare that we have the opportunity we do now, to have a real contest of ideas, to really
think hard about what the democratic party stands for and what we want the future of our country to look like. >> on the republican side, the results of the iowa caucus were more definitive. >> god bless the great state of iowa! >> after spending millions of dollars and months of campaigning, republican presidential candidate ted cruz celebrated. >> tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across iowa and all across this great nation. >> a less impressive but still strong finish for donald trump, who went into the caucus polling in first place. he was uncharacteristically humble thanking supporters. >> there were 17 candidates. i was told by everybody, do not go to iowa, you could never finish even in the top 10. we finished second, and i want to tell you something, i'm just
honored. i'm really honored. >> this is the moment they said would never happen. >> most surprising was the showing we senator marco rubio who promised if he becomes the republican presidential nominee, he would rebuild the u.s. military and defend gun rights he said were eroded under a democratic white house. >> after seven years of barack obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back! >> with the snowstorm looming, pollsters predict add low voter turnout. it wasn't the case, thousands lined up to caucus and declare support for candidates. >> tonight, i have to tell you that i am suspending this presidential bid. >> a few did not survive the iowa caucus. democratic candidate martin o'malley and republican mike huckabee ended their campaign after finishing with less than 2% support. >> hillary clinton has the most to lose in iowa, falling from her position at front runner, she now trails bernie sanders heading to new hampshire. it signals that the once clear victory for clinton for the
democratic presidential nomination is now distant and instead ahead is a grueling fight. al jazeera, des moines, iowa. >> still ahead on the program, destination yemen, the war-torn country is becoming a transit point for human trafficking. in south africa, the land appropriation bill is controversy. we'll find why it's not just the farmers who are concerned.
>> welcome back, a reminder of our top stories on al jazeera. delegations from the syrian government and opposition have both cast doubt on talks in geneva aimed at ending the war in syria following a major offensive in aleppo. russia is accused of undermining the peace pros. in iraq, a car bomb killed 18 soldiers north of rimadi. two other car bombs were expelled at a checkpoint opinion the government claims it controls 90% of the area after fighting isil in the last few weeks. in the united states, hillary clinton claimed victory in iowa after a close presidential nomination contest. ted cruz passed donald trump to win the republican vote in the iowa caucus. word health organization experts says it's considering the relationship between microcephaly and the zika virus
as guilty until proven innocent. there is a growing number of birth defects in brazil and they are possibly linked to the mosquito borne disease. our science editor explains. >> the word health organization, the u.n.'s healed body declares a global health emergency when a situation is rewarded as sirius, unusual or unexpected. it must also have regional or global implications and may require immediate international action. in this case, the w.h.o. responded to a spike in the number of suspected cases of a birth defect called micro testify lee in brazil. it doesn't know exactly how many cases there have been. >> away coordinated response is
needed. these babies born with birth defects in northern brazil are at the center of the emergency. 4,180 suspected cases of microcephaly were reported. only 270 have been confirmed, but there are fears these numbers will grow. >> there are two major questions that need answers, buy the outbreak in brazil is so big and the is the possible link between zika infection and microcephaly, will scientific data support that? this is what declaring an emergency will allow, that releases funds, releases resources so people can study and answer these questions. >> until they have answers, governments in the region are stepping up fumigation and eradication programs against the mosquito which transmits the zika virus. they are recommending women delay getting pregnant where possible, now the government's themselves are also blamed for helping to create the problem.
>> in 1970, that mosquito has been wiped out of brazil, but the brazilians let down their guard, the mosquito came back and they created a tinder box for which zika was just the match. it really is their own fault that this has come ba. >> the w.h.o. declared emergencies of this type in response to swine flu, pole i don't and ebola. the last time ebola swept through west africa, it was criticized for being slow and ineffective, possibly causing thousands of lives. since then, the w.h.o. has made changes it says makes it more responsive and it has now acted swiftly in declaring an emergency. it will be its handle of the situation in brazil and wider americas over the coming months that will be the real test. pro-government forces in yemen have made gains in the northeastern mountains towards the capital sanna backed by a saudi-led military campaign
trying to take control from houthi rebels. migrants and refugees from the horn of africa are still using yemen as a way to get to gulf countries, including saudi arabia. we have a report from migrants who say they have nothing to lose. >> this is the human trafficking hub. migrants want to cross the gulf of aden to its riven gulf neighbors. they arrive every day. it's relative proximity has made it a departure point. the migrant men and women are easy to spot. they are the idle ones resting in the shades of the shops and houses, waiting. he is one of them. >> my dream is to get to saudi arabia oop i'm waiting for the smugglers here. 300 of us will be taken by boat this evening. >> at the town's main market, business is brisk.
smugglers and their middle negotiators can be seen haggling over prices with traders. their vehicles are never far. outside a big group has arrived. they are carrying more than a little bottle of water and hope they are heading towards a better life. this is just one leg of a journey that for most started in ethiopia o or eritrea. they are kept outside of town, away from the glare of the police. some are fleeing persecution of their government. >> we were protesting the grabbing are our land outside addis ababa by our government. we were arrest and beaten. i decided to leave immediately. >> the migrants are also from the only flit in yemen.
>> the people smugglers kept them miss informed about the war there. fiction from the u.n. international migration discourage the migrants from taking the dangerous boat trips. some wish to return home. some say they have nowhere to go back to. they now live in this refugee camp who fled war in their country. he will remain here for as long as possible. al jazeera. south africa's government is pushing through a series of controversy land reform policies aimed at redressing the landownership between black and white citizens. we report on what's at stake.
>> this community has been living illegally on private lands for 20 years. it used to be part of a farm in johannesburg. they think the owner lives abroad. they worry one day he'll -- >> the government says some land owners don't want to sell or their asking price too high. it set up a parliamentary committee to examine a land exappropriation bill. if it becomes allow, it gives the power to buy land without justifying a price. >> if expropriation takes place, the final compensation offered by government, even if you're not accepting that, would then be paid to you on expropriation. you would still have the right to go to courts to the way in which the government is proceeding is administers of the
unjust. >> land is a sensitive issue in south africa, a reason for the increasing racial tensions here. some opposition parties feel black people should take back their land. >> the land is everything. it's identity, for agriculture. africans are still living like pin. >> the bill said expropriation must be in the public interest and used for public purposes, such as building a school. some feel the definition of the term property is do brad. they feel it gives government the power to take virtually any kind of business or property, not just land. some south africans worry the government could one day take over private homes and businesses to build houses and other facilities for the poor. >> i think about the homeowners and business owners who would be
exproper rated under these circumstances. >> they want to correct the balance of ownership between black and white south africans. a pakistan international airlines employee has been killed in karachi. police opened fire near the international airport. water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse crowds who were demonstrating against proposals to privatize the international airline. alphabet, which owns internet search giant google topped the list of companies after releasessing a fourth quarter earnings report that showed huge growth. alpha belt is now worth
$568 billion, while apple currently has a value of $535 billion. >> a reminder that you can keep up to date with all the news on our website, nationals and features, the address, aljazeera.com. >> tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across iowa and all across this great nation. cruise to go victory, ted cruz upsets donald trump in iowa. this morning it's deadlock for the democrats, hillary clinton has a narrow lead over bernie sanders. both say they were victorious. cosby in court, the comedian goes back before a judge as his lawy