>> only on al jazeera america. a mass move, thousands of syrians flee the aleppo countryside and government forces break through rebel forces. hello, i'm jane dutton in doha. also ahead, fearful burundi refugees sheltered in the camp speak of killings and abductions allegedly by government militia. we have a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face. >> wikileak founder julian assange says he has been
vindicated by u.n. panel who says he should walk free. will el niño solve california's water problem? we begin in northern syria where thousands of people are leaving villages in aleppo province, heading towards turkey. diplomatic talks on ending the war in syria are on hold, and now saudi arabia says it is ready to send in ground troops. syrian government forces backed up to russian air raids have stepped up their offensive to the east of aleppo. opposition fighters have appealed for help as their main supply root to turkey comes under pressure. and large numbers of civilians are now making their way to the turkish border. this report now from zana hoda. >> reporter: the suffering is
growing. tens of thousands of syrians are again on the move. those who have arrived are not being allowed in. these people are from the northern countryside of aleppo. many arrived on foot. many came with nothing. there is no safe area for these people, as the government pushes ahead with a major offensive in the province. >> we left our homes because of the bombings by the russians, iranians, bashar, and the syrian army. we want erdogan to let us in. >> reporter: officially turkey has an open door policy for syrian refugees, but over the past few months strict restricts have been put in place because of security concern, and because they are dealing with a lot of pressure taking care of the
2.5 million syrians already in this country. there have been hundreds of russian air strikes since the government's ground assault began earlier this week. and there have been dozens of civilian casualties. the air strikes are not just targeting the front lines. neighborhoods have been hit. people have abandoned their homes, their livly hoods. the on going movement offensive has cut through the heart of the rebel-held territory, but they are still fighting back, a number of factions have created a joint command, and are calling on all men in the area to take up arms. the opposition is fighting for survival in this corner of syria, the last remaining strong hold in the north of groups described as the moderate rebels. and that offensive is continuing on the ground. there is fierce fighting.
the opposition, like we mentioned is fighting back, but it's still not clear whether or not they will be able to prevent the government from achieving its objectives on the ground. there was a military break through on wednesday. the government cut through rebel-held territory, they lifted the siege of two [ inaudible ] towns and they are now using those towns as a launching pad to make further territory gains on the ground, but as of yet, they haven't made any significant gain, the government that is, because what they objective is so to encircle the city of aleppo. they want to cut the last remaining road into the opposition controlled east of that city. in that has still not happened, but what has happened on the ground is that the government severed the supply line of the rebels from the city to turkey. so the fighting is ongoing on the ground. heavy bombardment from where we are standing. we heard really the sort of explosions in the distance
throughout the day. senior russian diplomat has criticized saudi arabia's plans to send ground troops to syria. speaking to the russian news agency one spokesperson said any ground intervention by riyadh without the consent of the syrian government would be illegitimate. rory challands has the story from moscow. >> reporter: let's recap what has been happening. we know that the syrian rebels are taking an absolute pounding at the moment from this offensive launched by government forces backed up by massive russian air support. in disgust, the rebels and the opposition have left talks in geneva. at the same time, over the last few days the russians have become increasingly aware of reports that first the turkish and now the saudi arabiians might be preparing to send ground forces into the syrian
conflict. n now essentially this looks like the gaun -- gauntlet is being put down for russia. the u.s. said it would welcome saudi participation in the war. the justification for the incursion would be fighting isil. but the more likely reason is to support their favored side in the conflict. now if that sounds familiar, that's because it's the same sort of language that the russians used. essentially this would be playing the russians their own game. and the russians don't really know what to make of this. we have heard from a senator saying such an incursion would be illegitimate, but at the moment the kremlin says it is going to monitor the situation. a u.n. panel has ruled in this favor of wikileak founder
west africa. he has been holed up in the ecuadorian embassy in london for three years avoiding extradition to sweden where he is wanted over sexual assault allegations. let's speak to barnaby phillips outside of the embassy. barnaby what has he been saying? >> reporter: well he is on the balcony behind me, jane. he appeared about three minutes ago. perhaps you can see in his hand, he is holding up that u.n. panel report. when he mernled a few moments ago, he held it up and said how sweet is victory? he said that he had secured a legal victory over sweden, over the united kingdom, and that his freedom should now be guaranteed. he referred to the scathing criticism from the british foreign secretary of the u.n. panel report's fining. earlier he said it was
ridiculous to talk about mr. assange being arbitrarily detained from the point of view of the british legal system he is a man on the run from justice who voluntarily hid, took refuge in that embassy where he is right now. in response to that, a few moments ago, mr. assange said that he is sure that mr. philip hammond is a nice man, but on this legal matter, he is completely wrong. so it has been clearly a very difficult few years for mr. assange, but this afternoon, he is favoring his victory, make no mistake about it. >> okay. but still how do you break this impasse. he is standing on that balcony. he is going to leave until he is promised his freedom. so what happens next? >> reporter: it's very unclear. mr. assange has said that should this -- he had earlier said that had this panel ruled in his
favor, as we now know that it has, his passport should be immediately returned to him, and he should be guaranteed passage to whichever part of the world he chooses to go to. but we know from the british and swedish response that there is no chance of that happening. the british police said that the moment he would have stepped down from that balcony, he would be arrested. it is the most surreal situation, and as we have been saying, if it didn't involve an alleged case of rape, if it didn't involve mr. assange's liberty, which he has not had now for five years, and if it didn't involve millions of pounds worth of british taxpayers money, because the police have been out on this street for all of this many,
many months and years, you would say that it is comic the degree of farce involved. what changes now? for all of the excitement, i'm not sure very much. clearly mr. assange is back in the public eye. that's probably to his advantage. he is envoying the limelight right now. but in the long run, perhaps you might say that there is renewed diplomatic pressure, particularly on britain and sweden. they are countries who would see themselves amongst the forefront of defenders of international human rights and the system, and they are clearly at loggerheads with at least part of the u.n. system, so this is embarrassing, and you would expect, perhaps, they would feel under pressure, along with the ecuadorian government to reach some sort of compromise, some sort of face-saving solution, an idea that was muted in the last months of last year, was that
perhaps ecuadorian prosecutors could speak to mr. assange inside the embassy there about these allegations of rape in sweden. remember he has not been indicted. there are charges that swedish prosecutors would like to follow up against him, to ask him about, and of course his fear has always been -- just to reiterate why the international ramifications are important, his -- his claim has always been that if he were taken to sweden he risks extradition to the united states because of the leaking of the original wikileak documents back in 2010. >> all right. barnaby, thank you. more than 200,000 people have fled burundi since the african country slipped into violent political crisis. half of those who left are sheltering in this tanzania, and they say the burundi government
is sending militias to hunt down oppositions there. >> reporter: when we visited the camp, we were only allowed to interview refugees who has been scened by officials from the u.n. refugee agency. the u.n. says it was for refugees protection. several others wanted to speak about security in the camp, but were not allowed, so we contacted them by phone after we left. >> translator: the camp is currently not safe. we live in fear of burundian government militia in the camp. >> reporter: we have spoken to many refugees by telephone who say similar things, many name particular individuals who they say are agents sent by the burundi government to the camps to track members of the opposition. they said those agentings have attempted abductions and
killings. several more refugees said a group left in november leaving they were joining an armed rebel group in burundi, and they later learned it was a trap set by the government. one member gave a detailed account. >> translator: some of our group were tied up. we were loaded on to a truck and driven away. my friend and i jumped off and ran away to the border where we met more government militia that killed my friend, but i escaped over the border. >> reporter: the foreign minister told us on the phone that the allegations are baseless. in the tanzanian capitol, the u.n. said any of the refugees would have been allowed to meet with us. >> through the government we are not responsible for actual
security and safety. >> reporter: screening the constant flow of new arrivals is not easy. here the police search their baggage for weapons. the government says it was not aware of the allegations, but is doing all it can to make the camp secure. >> the government has been very strict. whenever we have spotted any kinds of activity that they are trying to say, yes, they are trying to recruit, we have actually taken serious measures. only last week, some refugees were actually app prehengded and taken before the court and charged. >> reporter: back in tanzania, both the u.n. and the government say part of the problem is that they are desperately short of funding to deal with the burundian refugees. the refugees say they just want
a place to be safe. and speaking to al jazeera earlier, burundi's foreign minister denied the government is sending militia into camps to search for opposition activists. >> i don't believe there are militias raiding the camps, and as we have heard from u.n. authorities, and i'm sure your journalists was able to reach out to the authorities in tanzania, because if there should be some activity of that nature, it should be the responsibility of the authorities in tanzania and the [ inaudible ] to address those facts. so i -- i -- i only heard from -- you know, of those allegations from your journalist. i have never heard anything of that nature before. in any case, in any case, anything that happens or takes place beyond the borders of burundi is not the responsibility of the government of burundi. still to come in the program, accused of disloyalty,
>> from rural midwest to war-torn mideast. she went for the money and found a greater calling... ♪ hello again, a reminder of the top stories. thousands of syrians are fleeing to turkey for safety. these aerial pictures show people trying to make their way on foot to the border with turkey. fighting has intensified in aleppo province as the government offensive is backed up by russia air strikes. the founder of really,
julian assange says he feels vindicated by a u.n. panel ruling saying he has been held in arbitrary detention. burundian refugees in tanzania have told al jazeera that militias are hunting down opposition activists in camps. 200,000 people have fled the country since last year. the u.n. peace keeping mission in central african republic says it has identified seven new cases of alleged sexual abuse by its troops. human rights watch say the alleged victims were gang raped. u.n. peace keepers were deployed to restore order in 2013 after an up surge in intercom munal violence. the latest claims come on top of
more than 20 allegations last year of sexual abuse by u.n. peace keepers. >> given the information collected through the initial fact finding, the united nations has decided to make immediate measures, including the repatriation of the soldiers. this repatriation will occur after an investigation is carried out. in the meantime the soldiers will coconfined to barracks. three people are trapped underground after a gold mine collapse in south africa. to the u.s. where democratic presidential hopefuls, hillary clinton and bernie sanders have squared off. the most contentious debate so far. there were heated exchanges on the subject of campaign funding.
>> reporter: outside the democratic debate hall in durham, not a hillary clinton sign in sight. new hampshire is bernie sanders territory. among young voters here he envoys more than 85% support, especially when it comes to issues of income inequality. >> the rich are getting richer, so i absolutely would like to see a candidate who supports radical changes in the economic structure to create more equality and justice. >> i don't trust hilary. it just seems a lot more genuine from bernie. >> reporter: the issue of reforming america's economic structure is where the two hopefuls argued most. sanders criticized clinton for receiving $675,000 for making paid speech to at least 1 wall
street company. >> i am very proud to be the only candidate up here who does not have a super pac, who is not raising huge chunks of money from wall street or special interests. [ cheers and applause ] >> there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down, you know, anybody whoever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. and i just absolutely reject that, senator. >> reporter: but when pushed for transparency to reveal whether promised had been made to corporate america, clinton dodged the issue. >> are you willing to release the transcripts of all of your paid speeches? >> i will certainly look into it. >> reporter: but clinton's defiance may not be enough. >> she has to prove he is as
progressive as bernie sanders is. and he has a lot of arguments to say, no, you are not. and one of those is taking money from major corporations and banks, and financial institutions at a time when many in the democratic party is really angry about that. >> reporter: clinton has little time to change the minds of new hampshire voters. its primary is now just days away, and clinton trails her opponent, in some polls by as much as 30 points. hundreds of chileans have taken to the streets of the capitol angry over the recent fining of the trans-pacific partnership. the deal involves 12 pacific rim nations. the deal that effects 40% of the global economy. oppo oppope ents say it hurts the
sovereignty of asian countries. demonstrators in the u.s. capitol also protested against the deal. dozens of people gathered outside of the headquarters of a drug research facilitity. they say it will make it difficult for patients to get access to life-saving medication. the global weather phenomenon known as el niño will bring rain and snow to some parts of the globe that are normally dry. as part of our continuing series of reports, we take a look at the impact on the west coast of the u.s. rob ren ald reports from california. >> reporter: the last few years have been tough for jordan parsons. >> since 2011, we have had complete crop failures the last four years in a row. in terms of the irrigated stuff, we have seen acreage drop because our wells can't hold up.
>> reporter: now for the first time in a long time, his fields are green, thanks to the el niño global weather system bringing water to california. scientists measuring the snow pack say it's well above average for this time of year. near san diego where surfers catch waves, technicians take readings of ocean temperatures. but while rain and snow have increased, el nino won't wipe out the effects of years of drought scientists say. >> it's really quite unlikely, and it doesn't look like it is shaping up so far. even if we had a normal strong el niño, we would be very unlikely to erase our way out of so many years of drought. >> reporter: officials say that 38 million californians need to keep conserving water. >> we can't say the drought is over yet. we're still in the rainy season,
we don't know how much we will end up with, so basically the message has been, people have really stepped up to the plate and tried to conservative, and we want them to keep doing to. >> reporter: farmers complain about water set aside for the environment and at-risk specieses. >> we're going to favor a fish over farmers in the valley. >> reporter: but officials say they are following the law. >> the law requires that the water be provided for them. >> reporter: more rain would be good news for california, but there's bad news as well. el theen you downpours could cause flash floods and mud slides. in pacifica south of san francisco, high tides have left these residential buildings
feet -- teetering on the edge. authorities ordered residents to leave before el niño tumbles their homes into the sea. rob reynolds, al jazeera. civil defense authorities in southern japan are an alert after a volcano resulted close to a nuclear power plant. the volcano is about 50 kilometers from the nuclear facility. pakistan international airlines has suspended all of its foreign and domestic flights following strikes by employees who are protesting against government plans to privatize the company. camel heidler has more. >> reporter: employees of pakistan international airlines are continuing to protest across the country. that has brought all flights domestic as well as international to a griening halt
as far as this airline is concerned. now the people are protesting against the moves by the government to privatize this airline. the government says it has already acured a debt of over $3 billion, and is costing the national [ inaudible ] another $300 million annually to sustain this particular airline. however, after the killing of three of their colleagues in karachi earlier in the week, the problem has now become complex. hundreds of passengers are stuck overseas. now the government is trying to charter a foreign airlines to bring their passengers back. the governor of a chinese province has been dismissed. he is accused of disloyalty to the ruling communist party. adrian brown reports from beijing. >> reporter: he was governor of one of the most important provinces in china.
this of course is a province where the former paramount leader hailed from. he has been accused of violating party discipline. that is an accusation you hear over and over again in today's china. he has also been accused of failing to rectify his wrongdoings. this follows events on thursday when a man who was the deputy governor of another very important province in china was also removed from his post, accused of violating party discipline. in this case, i think it is connected to the president's ongoing crackdown on political discent because he was a close associate of the former security czar here in china, who was jailed for corruption just last year. singer song writer maurice white who founded the u.s. soul group, earth wind and fire has
fied. ♪ do you member >> the band is known for a spring of hits including september and boogie wonderland. they sold more than 90 million albums worldwide. he died in his sleep at age 74. ♪ the markets dip in response to a disappointing jobs report despite unemployment hitting an 8-year low. the closing of wal-mart stores takes a heavy tool on the rural communities around them. >> i really don't think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. and enough is enough. >> things get heated in and a half shiem ahead