>> a major offensive by syrian troops and russian airstrikes on aleppo. but the opposition said that it's undermining talks in geneva. hello there, i'm barbara and you're watching aljazeera live from london. and also, the race to be the presidential candidate. and it's not donald trump. and yemen's national museum is destroyed by fire after two days of heavy shelling. and how the world health organization is stepping up in the fight against the zika
virus. thank you for joining us. syrian government forces have launched a major offensive from the north of aleppo and captured several strategically important towns. they're trying to cut rebel supply lines to aleppo and also to the turkish border. with the support of russian strikes, they have captured. the aim is to break through territory north of aleppo to reach the village. they would cut off the fighters in the north and prevent the reinforcement from getting through. reporting from northern turkey, close to the syrian border. >> reporter: this battle can change the balance of power in the strategic corner of syria. they're taking town by town in the northern countryside of
aleppo. this has long been an opposition stronghold. but that may change. with the help of russian air power, the government is advancing, and civilians are caught in the crossfire, and the heavy bombardment is causing many families to leave. >> look at the situation. look at those people who are arriving. all of roads are closed. and they're surrounded by the regime, where should people go? there are no homes, no camps. >> reporter: once with the free syrian army in aleppo explained the objectives of the government campaign. pushing north to the loyalist towns. those towns are promptly she a. and they're on a highway that runs between the turkish border and the rebel controlled districts of the divided city of aleppo. >> it won't be a good situation for us.
they are military bases, and there are fighters. >> rebels are fighting back hard. if they lose ground, the stronghold in aleppo city will be cut off from the rest of the fighters. the offensive in aleppo is the latest push against the rebel strongholds in the country. and the northern strongholds for the troops, the turkish border has been their lifeline. russia's intervention has made the defense on the ground. in turkey and the moderate groups that operate under the asa flag. >> they want to eliminate the free syrian army. they want to say there's no free syrian army and no revolution, and the choice will be between the regime and the
terrorists. >> reporter: the battle has reached a crucial stage, because aleppo is the remaining stronghold of the troops in the north who fight under the banner of the free syrian army. aljazeera, southern turkey. while the fighting rages in the epo, the government opposition are in geneva for talks. joining us from geneva, mohamed, how much of an impact are the on the ground in syria having on the ground in syria? >> reporter: it's having a very big impact today, barbara. throughout the day, we heard many times from the agency that's behind the negotiations committee, the main opposition negotiating body here in geneva, complaining about the fact that this bombardment was still going on, and that russia was still very much aiding the regime of bashar al-assad in
their quest to take over more and more territory. in advance as they have been in the last few days in aleppo. it's a great concern in aleppo and others in the talks. in fact, last night, you had the uk's foreign secretary, phillip hammond, very critical of what the russians are doing in sir ja, and questioning how they can be part of the peace talks when they're in fact aiding the remim of bashar al-assad in syria, and bombarding so much of the country there. so it really is casting a pall on these talks. one of the things today that's apparent, the optimism last night when it was announced that the talks kicked off, that didn't last. there has been so much pessimism expressed by both negotiating parties here. and in fact, the hnc, they have
been scheduled to meet with stefan, the special envoy for syria at 5 p.m. today. and that didn't happen. we heard indications earlier in the day that it didn't happen. and the fact that it didn't happen goes to show how difficult these talks remain. we also heard before that, a few hours before that, we heard from saddam, the spokesperson for the spokesperson for the agency, and he spoke to the press and he talked about the worries that they have going forward. let's listen to what he said earlier today. >> it's important for us to see the suffering of the people in syria. we need to see the lift of the siege, the childrennish starving to death, these bombardments from the russian side. and now, since last night, the big massacre taking place in syria, and no one is saying anything, and no one is doing
anything, and i don't know if the international community is completely blind or they don't going to do anything. we have it know, if they're keen to do anything, we're waiting for that. >> . >> we also heard from the opposition earlier today that they were irritated that he had announced last night that the u.n. had considered these talks had officially begun. and the agency saying that the talks can't begin until the demands that they have made, the conditions apply. and until those happen, they can't really talk in he's negotiations. that's the opposition, and on the other side of that coin, the regime, you had a meeting in morning between the regime negotiators here, and you had jaffy, the head of the delegation here, and he came out and expressed the dim view of what's happening here, and
he said that nothing can happen here, the negotiations can't be in earnest until the basic procedural matters are dealt with. he was talking about things on a very granular level. in fact the names of the delegation haven't been provide to the syrian regime here. that is listen to a little bit more of what bashaura jaffy had to say at the u.n. >> the other party is not genuine or serious enough. we have heard certain statements by representatives of the other party here, saying the conditions, they're going to put out on thursday. this is collaborated and
confirmed by the saudi foreign minsters. >> so the only thing that we have heard about their distrust of each other is at a time when the u.n. would like to push these talks forward. it doesn't seem that the momentum that was achieved yesterday has been sustained. and that's a roar, and the fact that stefan did not come to speak to the press and didn't talk about what happened in his meeting with the syrian regime delegation and didn't talk to the press when it was revealed that the previously announced meeting with the agency had been called off. and that's a worrying sign when at the time that the u.n. had believed that the talks were back on track.
and right now, a lot of questions, and it's very unclear to us on the ground what exactly is going to happen next. >> who happened, than mohamed. and news out of geneva, john kerry said that syria is at a catastrophe not equaled since world war ii. he made the comments in a room with 23 nations, part of the coalition fight against isil. >> our advances are clear. they are undeniable. we have launched nearly 10,000 airstrikes. we have interrupted their finance mechanisms, and they had had to cut the salaries of their fighters. we have interrupt their capacity to get revenue by going after the oil sites. we're hammering their heavy weapons, their training camps,
their infrastructures. we're closing in on full control of the syria/turkey border. >> john kerry speaking a little earlier, while we have been following events. >> libya could be the second battle ground in the fight against isil, because for the international community, this is a huge concern, to see isil expanding in a coastal area that threatens a 160-kilometer of a coastal area that could easily be used as a platform to launch attacks, and this is exactly why the international coalition is looking into option, to launch airstrikes against isil in libbia their best scenario is to launch it with a national army that can take on isil.
but against the back door, that could take some time. and now they're looking into the different options, like gathering more intelligence about isil. the potential targets, and also equipping and training local allies in libya to be ready for the actions against a isil in libya. >> still more it come on the programming, including britain's prime minister welcomes eu proposals, and find out what they mean for the uk. and plus, why more than 50,000 people have been left stranded at a chinese train station.
>> welcome back, and here's a reminder of the top stories on aljazeera. syrian government forces have launched major offensive near the city of aleppo, capturing self strategic towns with the help of russian airstrikes. a meeting in rome, the coalition against isil have pledged to accelerate their fight against the group, which is expanding it's reach in libya. fighting has been intensifying in the city of ramadi, in iraqes largest province of anbar. fighting in the east in the capital. and in the latest wave of violence, three suicide attackers have killed at least 18 iraqi soldiers. we have this report from baghdad. >> iraqi army positions shell
the eastern neighborhood in ramadi. very carefully, they move in with armored cars as they clear each house. some 300 isil fighters, according to the u.s.-led coalition, are holed up in the neighborhood, taking advantage of the urban layup to fire at iraqi forces. isil fighters have booby trapped several buildings on the outskirts, which have so far slowed the advance. they have defeated the last remaining pockets of isil fighters. still, the iraqi fighters are confident that this time they will succeed. >> the deployment units are divided into two parts. the first is to move into the next one, and the second unit is to hold the ground. we're dealing with isil hideouts so we can further advance toward the eastern part. >> reporter: isil fighters
are also able to resupply using the eastern corridor into ramadi, and the group has set out 400 fighters in reserve. they're able to fight back. they have used several attacks in the last few days against iraqi force. including a suicide bombing of a military base in the north of ramadi. the city, the iraqi security forces stays secure, but it's not just ramadi. several thousand people are trapped, and what some of the people are telling us is that the supplies are running out. fruits and vegetables and medicines are in short supply. isil, who control the city, are rationing out wheat supplies, so there's something to a but if the siege isn't lifted on
the city, fallujah could face a starvation crisis. after two days of heavy shelling, yemen's national museum has been destroyed by fire. many of the scripts have burned and the antiques have melted. we have this update from the ruins of the museum. [ foreign dialogue ] >> i stand here inside of the national museum in the city of ties. it has been under shelling for two days. you can see the fire is still in every corner here in the building. everything was burned down. the manuscripts, here in my hand, the epistle of ahmed. and it melted because of the fire. the leader of the family. the historical treasure melted
because of the raging fire. this is yemen's heritage, burn to the ground. belongings of the ruling family that governed yemen, and now everything is turned into ashes. this is the hill where the houthi shelled the museum from, and even until now, they keep bombing this area. and nothing is left. only pages of old qur'an transcripts. >> let's go to the united states now, where the results the iowa caucus vote have shown just how close the race for each of the party's presidential nomination will actually be. on the democratic side, hilliary clinton and bernie sanders were almost tied with support, with clinton with 51% and sanders 49.9. and martin o'malley has suspended his campaign. meanwhile, on the republican
side, ted cruz has a 27%, surging ahead of the man who stole all of the headlines in the vote, of course donald trump. marco rubio was just a percentage point behind them, with three other candidates, including jeb bush failing to get more than 10%. kimberly has been following this for a couple of days now, and what's next for the candidates? >> well, i'm standing at the de moines airport where the candidates have already left or their political aids are about to leave, and their focus now is new hampshire, where it's an entirely different race, but the strategy has changed in light of the iowa results, as you just pointed out there. talk about hilliary clinton, who very shortly after the results were being tabulated, if you will, and it was recognized that it was virtually a tie, she came out
to point out in a press release, this was a win in her eyes, but many are not seeing if that way in terms of political strategy, given the fact that she was at one point 50 points ahead of bernie sanders when he announced his candidacy. and that gap was closed to 2/10 of a perj point. bernie sanders tapping into what many people hilliary clinton represents, a political elite and establishment type politics in washington. something in a they're tired of, and that's why so many gravitated to bernie sanders, and that's her challenge as she moves to the new hampshire primary to try to overcome that, but he's trailing him right now, significantly. >> what do you think is going to be the difference between that and what you see in iowa? >> well, in terms of the voter design amics, if you will, iowa
is a rural state. and it has a very large christian population, and you don't see that large evangelical vote that came out very strong for republican, ted cruz, giving him a victory here in iowa, but he may not see the results translate into new hampshire. and it's quite often that we see a completely different result in new hampshire. many say that they can push the so-called reset button in new hampshire and reenergize their campaign. that's what hilliary clinton is going to try to do, but we could see very different results. right now, donald trump is leading in very high numbers in new hampshire, but he may end up with the same thing in iowa. he can wow them at the rallies and whether that translates on primary night may be very different. and the other thing we should point out, they both have a very different priority. the religious vote took a big
impact here in iowa, and less likely to see that in new hampshire as well. voters tend to be more socially minded and that could translate into a very different result. >> kimler, thank you. the french government will submit plans on wednesday to extend the national state of emergency for another three months. after the paris attacks in november, they gave the authorities sweeping powers to make arrests and conduct searches without a warrant, but the proposed extension is splitting public opinion. >> in a land of liberty, equality and fraternity, matters of nationaller security are now center stage. since the paris attacks, france has been living under a state of emergency, and many people don't welcome it. >> the measures are good. they allow us to identify people with baddin bad intentio.
>> on the street, [ unintelligible ] i think that we must be very careful today. >> reporter: at the end of february, the three-month long state of emergency will expire. after weak speculation, the french government is now almost certain to seek parliament's approval to extend it. the state of emergency gives the authorities unprecedented power to conduct searches without need of a warrant. and shutting down websites which seem to be glorifying gatherings and demonstrations. the french government said that the country is at war. we're going to extend the state of emergency, and we have had two [ unintelligible ] and giving more powers to the police and the courts. >> the plans to extend the
measures have led to this. thousands took to the streets of paris over the weekend. and many say that it threatens french values, and the freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate. there are questions over the effects of the measures. since the attacks police have carried occupant thousands of raids, but so far only three terrorism investigations have been opened. some say that it has unfairlier targeted muslim communities. >> it's a state of emergency and something works. >> there are signs of descent. last week, the justice minister resigned about a reform that would allow people convicted of terrorism to be stripped of their french citizenship.
only two months after the attacks, they're in a place of national mourning. despite the criticism, the government said that security must come first, but many in france wonder if these temporary measures will be a permanent reality. >> the leader of the russian republic of chechnya is accusing instagram of bug to pressure from the u.s. to take down a controversial website. it shows the russian prime minister, a critic of vladimir putin, in a sniper's gun site. a putin supporter has been criticized for what they see as a murder threat. british oil company, bp, has dropped massive earnings, down 91% in the fourth quarter, it's $502 billion in the red. bp is suffering from low oil
prohibitions and continuing effects of the bp oil spill in the gulf of mexico, six years ago now. in the city of aberdeen, we have the latest. >> reporter: bp is to cut 3,000 jobs, that on top of the 4,000 that they announced would go last year, and it has made it's biggest ever annual loss. this is not just a problem affecting bp. this is an industry-wide problem. of course caused by the low oil prices, prices have gone down by 70% since the middle of 2014. that has been devastating for parts of the industry. here in aberdeen, many workers were in some work directly or indirectly to the oil industry. it's busy despite the slump, but we know that the cuts are
beginning to bite here and out there in the north sea. indirectly, we're told that hospitality is being affected. hotel rooms, the levels are much lower than they were. a taxi driver told me that his income has halved since the middle of last year. many believe that the oil prices will go up, but at some point in 2016, here they hope that it happens sooner, rather later. >> the world health organization is warning that the zika outbreak could spread from south america to africa and asia. the zika virus, which has been blamed for thousands of birth defects in brazil, they're setting up guidelines for pregnant women. >> the problem is that the complications of this relatively mild illness do have potentially devastating effects
for families. to have a child with microcephaly and to have a ten-fold increase in numbers, and the potential to spread, not just across latin america, but into africa and into asia, which have the highest birth rates in the world, we believe is a matter of public health concern and constitutes an international energy. >> spain's acting prime minister, philippe, has nominated socialist, pedro sanchez to lead a second round of talks for government to break the political deadlock. he says that he will need at least three weeks before a vote can be organized. now more than 50,000 train passengers are stranded in china's railway it station because of the heavy snow. 175,000 people are scheduled to leave the station on tuesday, with most of them heading home
to celebrate the chinese new year. much more on that and everything else that we have been covering on our website. the address, aljazeera.com. you can see it there, our top story, syrian opposition imperils the talks going on in geneva can change lives. >> the science of fighting a wildfire. >> we're going to explore the intersection of hardware and humanity, but we're doing it in a unique way. this is a show about science... >> oh! >> oh my god! >> by scientists. >> tonight, techknow investigates vaping. >> whoever bought this got way more than they bargained for. >> yes they did. >> it's everywhere... in clubs, street corners and cars. they say it's safe, it can help