tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN November 15, 2015 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
good evening, i'm erin burnett, i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world this afternoon and this evening. air strikes underway right now on isis strongholds in raqqa, syria, we're hearing the city is getting pounded. we understand french planes are leading -- all are french involved in the air strikes. let's start with our senior international correspondent nick paton walsh in erbil. what do we know about these strikes? >> reporter: it is a strange moment to hear isis news agency themselves agree on the fact there have been about 20 to 30 strikes in the period of about an hour hitting what they refer
to in terms of raqqa as the stadium area and political building too. now those are landmarks by those names by may no longer have those particular jobs. this is clearly a number of targets. we donlt know who's behind all of the bombing, despite the french ministry being clear they are bombing heavily now, raqqa as we speak. we don't know what the buildings serve as a purpose right now. giving the timing and the announcement that their jets are over the skies in raqqa, you can be pretty sure what we're hearing from both sides, the argument inside raqqa is some sort of statement of intent inside raqqa. we don't know where the french jets have taken off from. the caliphate that is raqqa. the most recent offensive backed by coalition air strikes and
kurdish militia force, whose capital i'm standing in right now against sinjar, which cleared isis out indeed and design d to cut off one of the key supply routes to raqqa. part of a broader strategy. i have to point out on twitter, some people who support isis suggest similarly after death of the jordanian pilot, there were air strikes and this could be a knee jeerk reaction from france. right now as we speak, the french air force in action over raqqa, highly symbolic, effective moment against isis. erin? >> please is a with mstay with . i want to bring in jim shuuto, unclear how militarily significant it will be and of course it could be the beginning of a bigger french response. we don't know. >> we don't know the effect yet. first of all it is an
unprecedented in size. this is a largely french operation, 10 war planes s 20 bombs, u.s. had strikes planned there, but nothing to that scale. here's what's particularly unusual, the u.s. agreed to share with france all of their intelligence, raw intelligence that is normally only shared with the so-called five eyes, the u.s., uk, canada, new zealand and australia. in light of this and following these horrible attacks here in paris the french asked for help and asked for greater intelligence and wanted to step of their participation in strikes in syria and u.s. agreed to give them this intelligence and it appears they are acting tonight with these air strikes. >> this is an incredibly significant moment, unprecedented moment in terms of french involvement. in terms of the overall scale, it is not a transformational moment. we're talking 20 bombs out of -- >> thousand or so -- >> that it is not something that is going to be a game changer. >> that's right. at least in terms of the effect on the ground.
we're more than a year into this air campaign and while essentially isis has advanced in iraq in syria has been stopped, they control large portions. with the battle principlely from the air, it is difficult to gain back the territory isis has under control. the big question becomes, does this change the specifics of the strategy? are large numbers of ground forces going to go on? we haven't seen that yet. this could be the first day of a sustained campaign followed by ground operations. to this point it is an extension greater french participation in air strikes that have already been under way for some time. >> nick, and social media which does not mean this is happening or not happening, there are reports of strikes hitting civilian targets, for example, things like a hospital in raqqa. we don't know if that's the case yet. but would that be something that would surprise you if these are strikes that are not so specific
in their target? >> reporter: well, erin, you have to be clear, buildings were once called clinical hospital, no longer used in that way by isis. they take over parts of the civilian infrastructure and turn them into at times prisons or other things unimaginable to the normal human being. we don't quite know what those buildings have become. we don't know the level of intelligence gathering that the west has inside of raqqa. they've been doing all they can to infiltrate that city. you have to ask yourself too, sadly, given the advice ral level of anger inside france, understandably who they have chosen to hit tonight, this is a massive bombardment compareded to what we've seen in past nights. there have been nights when dozens of air strikes were reported. i'm not sure they reached this level in this short period of time and you can't ignore the coincident of how close this has
been, where they have hit and the accuracy of targeting and that's something else to be debated. it's clear according to what jim has been reporting too, that the americans are quite willing to share their raw intelligence about what's happening inside raqqa and it will be improving the accuracy what the french be able to do. talk of a ground operation, i have to be honest, we have to put that very far away from where we are right now. this is a hard deal here. even the noigs of building up the syrian kurdish forces who are close to raqqa, to do that kind of things, that's months off. sunni arabs, the kind of offensive you have to move to take it back from isis, have any idea of the local population after isis had moved out, that's still months off. they need weapons and need training and even insertion of american special forces is going to face towards raqqa in the imminent future. this sounds and feels like an
open response to make the french people frankly feel like something is being done. hopefully too the french mill incapacity ate parts of raqqa, these are well known to the united states. why weren't they hit earlier. but where does it go from here? >> nick is going to stay with me and john shuuto is with me. i want to bring in our terrorism analyst jean charles, significant as nick paton walsh is saying, one night of attacks but overall not something that will change the game. is this just the beginning? >> yes, i think it is just the beginning, we're discussing this issue of increasing the pressure on the islamic state on the ground there in syria and iraq
and this is what happened exactly what happened. so we need to do that first and to increase, to put more resources to really try to dismantle the structures ever command and training facilities of isis which made it possible for several terrorist attacks in europe, including the paris attacks. >> jim shuuto, let me ask you something -- to take a step back. when people watching here there have been 7,000 or so air strikes in the past year or so. they know that a lot of those have been on areas near raqqa, they can be for given for asking what else is there left to hit. >> there are significant leaders left to hit. when you think of striking jihadi john on friday, an operational leader in isis, it shows you both the challenges and the difficulties and the benefits of this kind of air campaign. yes they have intelligence and those strikes can decapitate.
>> they can be small and precise as opposed to -- >> that also -- what effect does it have in the end? you can take out a leader but does that stop the opposition? sharing that intelligence as barbara starr first reporting, is significant. all of the talks of their being an intelligence black hole in syria, didn't have boots on ground, clearly they have decent intel jengs. over the course of the last several weeks they've been able with that intelligence to carry out successful air strikes against jihadi john. the intelligence can be valuable. and those strikes can accomplish their goal if it's to destroy a tank or oil facility or leader. the strategic question becomes can the air campaign accomplish the larger goal which is to rest that territory back from isis and we haven't seen that yet.
>> jean-charles, even if it were successful as a pure tactics of war perspective, you have to go after the head of the snake, raqqa. you have people inspired by people who have trained there and people who left, going after raqqa is not enough. >> no, that's not what i said. this is the first step to go on the ground and enintensify the campaign against the isis in their heartland and reinfoce in europe everything we can do against these individuals, reinforce the powers in place and several measures to be implemented quickly to reinforce the border patrol and trace the control the individuals trying to come back from france to commit terrorism here in our soil, not only in paris but in the past months or years, in belgium, in the netherlands and elsewhere. those two strategies must go
together. of course. >> jean-charles, let me go back to nick paton walsh. you're learning more information about the strikes? >> reporter: according to the french defense ministry, a recruitment center and ammunition storage base were amongst the first target and the second target was a training camp. all were destroyed they say. 12 aircraft were used, 10 of which were involved in the bombing. i would imagine the other two were involved perhaps fuel resupply and total of 20 bombs were dropped. accurate information from the french side about what they expected to have been hit here. we'll have to work out what the reaction has been on the ground in raqqa, how they choose to exploit or report this attack. but it is interesting to see that level of munitions dropped by the french who have been a participant in coalition air strikes but not of course the main driving force.
is this part of a broader french strategy? i doubt that, that's going to take a large amount of planning to implement. it's like a visceral understandable reaction. but are we also going to see amongst nato and those who meant and attacked here today, something slightly more cohesive and serious against isis and raqqa. it's not the entirety of where they are but it is an important place to strike at a time like this, erin. >> nick, thank u. 20 bombs dropped and 10 fighter jets led by the french. perhaps the punch in the face, the reaction that france is now responding with. there will be so much more to come to actually defeat this opponent. we'll take a brief break and we're live from paris.
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welcome back, i'm live in paris. you can hear behind me some chanting and clapping. we're here at the memorial at the plaza day la repub leak. as this hour we know that a suspect linked to the paris attacks is on the loose. here's what we know. international manhunt is now underway for this man. he's 26-year-old abdeslam, born in belgium. this individual is dangerous, do not interact with him. he's one of three brothers believed to be part of the attack. the second brother is in custody in belgium. all of this comes as two of the
seven attackers have been identified. the first a belgium resident named hafti, 19 or 20 years old, the second one ismael moss at a fi. we're also learning more about how the attacks got into france and this is a complicated issue because there's different stories but european officials that he crossed into the greek island of leros and made his way into europe and on which he put his fingerprint. he went through macedonia and croatia and here to france. he strapped on an explosive vest and detonated himself at the soccer stadium. as the investigation widers
people in paris are rattled. there were two very different things that happened at the same time here. the first was actually at noter dame, there was a memorial service, 12 minutes of bells ringing. i was there amidst thousands. there was a moment or two when a shout would go out. deer in the headlights in many people's eyes. here though something very different happened. there was a false alarm but of course there's that incredible fear and here's what happened. [ screaming ] >> a crowd of mourners suddenly spooked when apparently somebody said they heard gunshots. someone in the crowd thought they heard gunfire and that's how nervous people are here. i was talking to one of our reporters who said it was truly terrifying with people running down the street. people were afraid for their
lives. just a suggestion of something can set off waves of panic. now the latest death toll in the paris attacks, 129 killed, 352 wounded. still 99 with serious injuries. a number which has not changed in the past 24 hours. let's bring in our senior international correspondent, i know while we were in that incredibly peaceful crowd of many thousands outside noter dame. you experienced something foe l totally different? >> reporter: that's right, we were in the throws of a near stampede. which had been a few hundred people peacefully gathering outside one of the restaurants targeted on friday night, lighting candles, saying prayers and remembering the dead turned into chaos. we heard women started shrieking and there were reports from the crowd that gunfire had erupted although we didn't actually hear gunfire and people just started panicking and running down the street.
the look in their eyes, erin, these people genuinely believed they were running for their lives. we saw women pushing strollers with babies in them. another woman clutching her child, shrieking and crying. the police fanned out across the entire area. some in plain clothes, all heavily armed and they were visibly very rattled as well. desperately trying to clear the area. and get a grip on exactly what was happening. and certainly it's fair to say that very quickly, a sense of panic really consumed the entire place. this is about 7 minutes away from place de la republique. you had this panic spreading across paris. it was really in juxtaposition what i saw earlier, on the street and said friday night we were in shock. saturday night we were crying and weeping and mourning the dead. today we were determined and going to be defiant and going to go about our daily life and go to cafes and concerts and be out
on the streets. if we fear and live in a culture of fear they have won. what we saw clearly tonight with this, it turned out to be nothing but with this moment of panic and terror we saw in people's faces, it's clear france is traumatized and there's a lot of work and time here before people really start to live their daily lives again. life for now here has fundamentally changed and people are very much fearful as much as they want to embrace that spirit of defiance and as much as they want to get back to their daily lives. >> it's true. and clarissa, we went to the eiffel tower, still crowded underneath with tourists, they couldn't go up. completely closed because it is a state of emergency. as long as it's a state of emergency things are not open.
cafes were full, people spilling in the streets. a beautiful, warm, sunny day in paris, beautiful late fall day. even as people tried to go about their daily business, if they wanted to go back to normal they can't yet. not just the nervousness but that so many places are closed. >> so many places are closed and attackers potentially still at large. we know of one. there's a warrant out for his arrest but beyond that people are asking, is there a large network at play. who facilitated this attack and orchestrated this attack and supplied the weapons. a lot of people struggle to believe this could have just been the work of seven or eight men. this is very different from charlie hebdo where it was a isolated attack but police quickly seem to take charge of those situations. this still very much a fluid situation, erin, people fearful.
there's no sense here yet of closure. >> clarissa, thank you very much. we'll be right back live from paris. ♪ starts with turkey covered in a rich, flavorful gravy. and a crust made from scratch. because she knows that when it's cold outside, it's good food and good company that keep you warm inside. marie callender's. it's time to savor.
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and welcome back, i'm erin burnett live in paris. we're covering the breaking news of the paris terror attacks. right now a manhunt for suspects at large and the breaking news of french air strikes over the isis strong hold of raqqa in syria. jim shuuto joins us with the latest we know on these air strikes, ten fighter jets, 20 bombs going off french aircraft carrier. >> this is a major french operation, unprecedented from the french perspective so far. it is largely their thing tonight. we've been waiting for the last 36 hours for the french response and we're beginning to see it now and the ministry of defense says it is the beginning of something, not a one off. we have learned something that's particularly significant and unusual, that the u.s. is
sharing all of its intelligence with the french. what's different about this, they are giving them raw intelligence from what's known as the five eyes program, this is just the agency, u.s., uk, canada, australia and new zealand. they had this agreement for years where they share everything. they are welcoming the french into that family. >> what will that be? when you talk about the significance of raw data? what is the raw data we could be talking about as pertains to the strikes in raqqa? >> intelligence based on all of their gathering methods, from satellites and drones -- >> it's basically all of the backup data that leads to a target. >> that would give them the best information they have about what exactly fixed positions are on the ground and what this building is for and where people are on the ground. intelligence, for instance they used on friday to kill jihadi john. the operation -- one of the operational leaders of isis. they shared that with the french and the french using that
intelligence begun this air campaign with ten wearplanes. >> nick paton walsh has been covering the story. what are you hearing about air strikes tonight? >> reporter: a group of prominent activists inside with sources inside of raqqa are saying that the basic targets have been what they refer to the clinical hospital, the stadium, a political building in the area among other areas too. those names don't signature fi what the buildings that have been hit actually still do as jobs. often isis take over key parts of the infrastructure and then use them for totally different purposes like prisons and other parts of their repressive regime. it does show according to raqqa sources, no civilians have been hurt in this but a substantial number of parts of raqqa have been hit. the key question, if these
targets were available and target packets and among the coalition have had around for a while, why haven't they been hit until now? is this part of a french response to be seen, doing something militarily off the bat or militarily prpful targets? we don't know the answer to that or know the answer as to where the jets were launched. is it part of a broader strategy to base jets nearer syria and hit repeatedly or one off, erin. >> right, nick, please is a with me, peter joins me the director of the center for study of radicalization. i want to just ask jim one more question here, we started talking about this a few moments sean nick alluded to it. the list of targets, a training camp, command center, recruitment center and ammunition depot or something. okay, when i hear that and i think about the 7,000 strikes in syria since this began, i say if
it is possible that you have a training camp, recruitment center and arms depot in raqqa still left for the french to hit in one night, what the heck was the united states and coalition doing up to this point? >> it's a fair question. these are difficult targets, raqqa is a heavily populated city, that's one reason isis is there, because the u.s. and coalition partners don't want to have collateral damage. they hide in plain sight in effect. isis does have an organization and needs stuff. it needs weapons and needs places for their leaders to hide, et cetera. they are moving around as best they can. we don't know what led specifically to those sites, what does the u.s. and five eyes program know about those particular sites? we know that based on practice they are not always 100% sure. it's their best guess as to what is there. the french acting on what is the best western intelligence.
one correction, early on we were trying to figure out where the air strikes were coming from. the french are soon deploying their only aircraft carrier to the persian gul. we're told these air strikes were launched out of the uae in jordan. planes based in the region taking part in the air campaign carried out these attacks tonight. peter, this question of raqqa and what is next. obviously france is going to go after raqqa. you need to go after where the people in charge of isis are head quartered after their stronghold. what about everywhere else? the strength of isis comes from the fact it is not necessarily centralized and you have so many people to go to train or fight who are all also europe. you could take raqqa out and that wouldn't take out the organization, would it? >> it wouldn't necessarily. but raqqa is an important place for the islamic state. it is true that ail lot of the
administration is being based -- and importantly a lot of foreign fighters especially those from britain and france are based in and around raqqa. it is known that a lot of the executions that were carried out by jihadi john were carried out on the outskirts 67 raqqa. it is full of important targets and does make sense to go for raqqa than for other places. >> and nick paton walsh, you have more information. i'm just hearing that right now. go ahead. >> no, simply to add, we have to be cautious about the level of assault that's possible against raqqa. we're talking about a very still well populated city that has been at the heart of the isis way of life for a number of time. we're talking about a place where there's talk of blankets
being laid over parts of the street to prevent planes from seeing what's happening in the open ground there, a city which isis long prepared for a ground assault. i think we should park to some degree of distance to retake raqqa from isis until they were to flee voluntarily from it. we saw them do in sinjar, a town very symbolic and important for them in northern iraq, near where i'm standing, i think the key question is, when you have a nation like france with this understandable visceral need to exact some sense of reprisal against isis, how can they do that in a military effective way and choose targets that will hit ice is' key leaders and hit the hierarchy and not hit the civilians too. there's an extraordinary delicate balance here between hitting what is effectively an insurge enltcy or occupation in parts of syria and hitting
people who at times may be against them and may be forced to be alongside them. if you bomb them, maybe increasingly close to their point of view, how do you strike that cautious balance and militarily effective. a vitally important part where isis is. it has a lot of military power that they are trying to gather to its north through kurdish forces and weak syrian sunni arab coalition, the syrian democratic face. they want to use special forces to mobilize them to move south towards raqqa. it's not imminent but the idea of france saying raqqa is our target now, that may potentially focus nato minds, barack obama too, involved in this thought pattern as well, may involve people to think slightly more about what happens next on a border military front. >> if this is the beginning, what is next for france? is this a ground troop situation and what is next for the united
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now i know about novolog®. taken by millions since 2001. vo: ask your health care provider about adding novolog®. it can help provide the additional control you may need. welcome back live from paris, i'm here at the place da la repub leak. nick paton walsh is in erbil. we want to talk about what is next. these air strikes as in this case was describing, these are a visceral reaction of france striking back. they are air strikes and we have seen thousands of. >> a continuation. >> is there more? what is next? >> a continuation of the broader coalition strategy, a step up in france's participation so far.
it seems this won't be the end of it. i've heard this the same from u.s. defense officials that france wants to step up its participation as a whole. the broader question though, we haven't seen this yet and early indications are this is not changing. is that this will remain largely an air campaign. these are not attacks that launch a significant strategic change in the operation -- >> for example, ground troops and nato getting together -- >> in the article 5 of nato as happened after 9/11, which is in effect the whole nato alliance comes together in self-defense after one of their members has been attacked. this may still happen. we did have the president 'deputy national security adviser reiterating that u.s. ground troops are not the solution to the isis problem. >> it's an incredibly difficult situation and the world is reacting as some would say so slowly and hesitantly because of what happened after 9/11. if you're a foreign country,
what happened on friday night, france would go to war. this is not a foreign country, it is a group that is a cancer within a foreign country and nobody knows quite how to fight it. can the united states keep this only to an air campaign if an ally like france says we need more than 50 u.s. special operations forces, boots on ground in syria? >> it's also a political question. will there be pressure on the french president to have a more significant response than this. this is ten months after another deadly attack, quts charlie heb do attacks. do leaders ask for greater cost from people, greater risk of put being people on the ground. >> that is the big question, what is next? is a stepped up air campaign what we will see? is that enough? >> the air campaign is easy to do. francois hollande after saying this was quote an act of war,
this is his way of saying, we're at war with isis. the question i have to ask, what else could france do? i think it's viable they could insert special forces and dozens in the way the u.s. are thinking to try and improve the level of air strikes against isis. but you have to look, how do we effectively isolate isis. they are not -- they are a junior varsity to some degree on world military stage like barack obama said, they are not totally om nip tent. in terms of syrian opposition forces that are pro-western and to the east iraqi forces that can block them off, they do have a limited life span. there is something that can be done. in the list i've just given you, it's such an extraordinarily complex and messy political set of allegiances you have to get together. that in and of itself is an
enormous challenge. it is a case of air strikes trying to weaken them and through that they will somehow expire on their own accord, erin. >> thank you very much. nick paton walsh. our coverage live from paris continues. we'll be right back in a moment. if legalzoom has your back.s, over the last 10 years we've helped one million business owners get started. visit legalzoom today for the legal help you need to start
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the middle east editor of "newsweek," lives here in paris, author of an upcoming book on syria. you have spent a lot of time in syria and in recent months and during this conflict. so let's talk about this issue right now, tonight, france with massive air strikes against the stronghold of raqqa. in syria, what is your perception of the civilians and isis and how closely intertwined they are? >> it's difficult with air strikes to get precise targets. we've seen this over and over again. i think since the russian intervention began there's been something like 14 hospitals that have been hit. they mainly hit civilian targets rather than or moderate syrian opposition targets rather than isis targets. so while i understand why these air strikes have to happen, france has been pierced at its heart it's been an incredible
blow to france, the terrorist attacks here. i'm not convinced it will be entirely successful or we can take out raqqa purely with air strikes. >> so two crucial follow-ups to that. when you talk about hospitals being struck as they are saying indeed happened now. those hospitals are often only in name. >> names. >> but as you point out, sometimes and sometimes not. how do you know? >> we don't know actually. we don't know what's going inside raqqa. we have very little information. sometimes they will move civilians into places like that, like during the kos vo air strikes, they might move hostages or civilians into areas they think will be targeted. my concern is for civilians. so i think that it's very complicated launching air strikes like this as a
retribation and wiping out isis. the other thing, you can't wipe out an ideology. you might be able to suppress them militarily or might be able to cut off some of their lines but you can't suppress what they are -- the message, the key message they are spreading. the recruitment has doubled from 2014 to 2015. a lot of recruits are not just the alienated muslim youth that come of age in the paris suburbs or from the uk or from america. they are also highly educated tunisians. >> explain that to me. why is that that someone who is highly educated would ever buy into the ideology of a group which just slaughtered innocent civilians at a nightclub in paris? how does that happen? >> because for instance, tunisia, which 3,000 recruits going to join the jihad, tunisia is a highly educated society,
the reason the revolution was launched, it was a lack of opportunity for the youth. the higher your expectations are, the more you think you're going to graduate from university and have a better life. it's not like that. there are no jobs and is no future. there's this grave sense of alienation from society. i think what isis promises them and we have as we know a brilliant social media campaign and recruitment videos are powerful. they are promising them a chance at something, to make something of themselves. they are not all loser disenfranchised youth. they feel this is a way to make a stand in society. as for the killing of civilians in france, they would view it -- they would see it as this is part of the war. we are now at war. this is part of the strategy. >> thank you very much. the french president has said he is at war.
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welcome back. there's a memorial behind me, people coming to pay respects. a few hours ago there was a service here at noter dame and thousands in the square outside the cathedral -- i'm here with janine degiovanni, "newsweek." there was a stampede of people who thought they might have heard gunshots. it was so different at notre dame, the lit up cathedral and doves flying over and 12 straight minutes clanging of the
bells. >> and thousands standing in silence. it was an incredible moment. but as a visitor it was a moment of what you must feel as someone who lives in the city. >> we've gone through this before in january, not the same extreme of killings on friday night, but the "charlie hebdo" killings, which was also a shock and real piercing to france's heart. it was the very things that the french society believe in, freedom of expression, striking out at institutions. but these killings were something else. this was targeting ordinary people, people out on a friday night going to clubs, bataclan, it was a very painful thing for france to digest. >> one thing i noticed and we're almost out of time. there were no police, no one checking anything. there's a moment where you feel
a fear about that but it also seemed to be very normal. there wasn't an increased police presence. >> i think there will be. as days go on there will be especially with the renewed french strikes on isis targets. i've noticed in the metros there's more police and more out. i think that there will be more of a presence and more surveillance, which is going to be a difficult thing for the french because it means there will be less civil liberties. this is an issue i'm really looking out for. how it's going to affect civil liberties of individual people in the weeks and months to come. >> janine, thank you very much. we'll be right back live here from paris. ♪ they'd be a lot happier with the capital one venture card.
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