tv CNNI Simulcast CNN September 22, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
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let's go to our becky anderson in abu dhabi for the very latest. becky? >> reporter: thank you very much indeed. we're live in the gulf. apologize for the noise. there's a military airport close to the cnn bureau here and it's awfully windy. but these are the first air strikes yet on militants inside of syria, and they are being carried out now by the u.s. and five, five arab partner nations. the focus is on the militants' self-pro gamed cclaimed capital raqqah. the pentagon is using tomahawk cruise missiles with air strikes from bombers and fighter jets. and a senior u.s. official tells cnn so far there's been no interfeerns from syrian government forces, i spoke with
jim sciutto just a short time ago. this is what he said. >> multiple officials tonight, the start of this strike meant to be a decisive blow, going at key targets of isis, targets in the area of command-and-control, and resupplying. where fighters and commanders might have been holed up for the night. this starting at nighttime, over syria. and it is still continuing, i'm told, until daybreak there, when we expect to get a further update on the exact number of targets and nature of targets hit. as you mentioned, five arab partners taking part. the u.s. the only non-arab participant in the strikes tonight. that is something the obama administration was intent on building here, making this not yet another relatively lone
american intervention but one joined by local partners. and you have those. jordan, qatar, bahrain, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates. the participation by at least try of the partners is in kinetic activity, not supporting them but taking part in those air strikes. that is extremely significant. this is just the first night. i'm told that this will continue, perhaps not at the same pace that we've seen tonight and intensity. perhaps settling into more of the pace that we've seen in the u.s.-led air campaign over iraq in recent days which is now in its sixth week, but this is the first very decisive step you might say in what promises to be a long campaign. just one thing i might add as well, becky, i've reached out to members of the syrian opposition, and i've heard from the syrian opposition very
strong support. one official telling me thank you, thank you. this is something we've been waiting for for so long. remember, this is an administration that did not take the advice of even some of the president's own advisers to get involved in this conflict earlier, to arm some of the moderate syrian rebels. hillary clinton, leon panetta had pushed for that. the president had refused, and how he's doing both those things, arming the rebels and striking isis from the air. >> and rosemary, i know you're with me. i'm here in the uae. at least three of these arab partners involve td in kinetic action, ie dropping bombs. we're doing our work on the ground to find out exactly who is involved and how. we certainly know jordan is involved in an intelligence
basis. it has military bases which are military being used by the australians for the intense yiif getting them involved in the theater of war. you've got bahrain, qatar, jordan, saudi arabia. it does appear that qatar is involved, how? we're doing our work on that to find out. certainly qatar's been involved in the past in flying sorties, for example, over libya in 2011. we're trying to get ahold of one of the spokes men for the jordanians. and as we get more on that we will bring it to you. but as things stand today live in the gulf, it is now past 9:00 in the morning. people waking up in the united arab emirates and around this region to the news that u.s. air strikes have started over syria and that there are arab partners
involved in what is this coalition of the willing. rosemary? >> and becky, you have lived, and you've been working in the region for some time now. and as you know, it's one thick to be talk being about these five arab nations on board with the strikes on isis if syria. it is a whole different matter when you then consider whether the citizens of those five nations are on board with this. how do you expect them to respond, as you say, as they wake to the news of this? such active roles, too, that their nations are taking. >> that's a very, very interesting question. you feel a real sense of urgency in this region. look, three, four, five years ago, if you talked to people locally here, politics was spoken about, but there was always a sense here in the gulf that you were some distance away from what was going on, certainly with the arab spring. when you speak to youngsters here, you say how did the arab spring affect you and they're
quite clear that they're fenced from what was going on in the wider region. but it's clear now that countries here in the gulf realize that they are most likely going to need to step up. and the residents also feel that. and you talk to anybody, you talk to people who are working with us here at cnn who are low tal emiraties, and they say it is very much being discussed around the dinner table. look, there's been a problem for some time royaling, and when i allude to qatar, i allude to this problem, the rise of political islam in this region and the infewer yags that saud eye and the uae had of qatar who were hosting members of the muslim brotherhood. on the one hand you've had this sort of, not paranoia, but the fear of radical islam and that being played out in libya, for example, and then of course over the last four, five, or six months, you've seen the rise of
isis. and you'd be very hard-pressed to find anybody in this region who didn't agree that isis is a significant threat, not just to iraq and to syria, but to the wider middle east. and there is real fear that isis on the one hand and al qaeda moving into egypt are real problems going forward. so it is interesting to see the band between the rifted countries, and in those i include uae, bahrain, kuwait, banded together over the political islam with one intention, and that is to get together to fight the scourge that is isis. so perhaps no real surprise you see these countries in this region getting on board. we're yet to work out exactly
how they are on board. remember last week, rosemary, we were talking about the coalition of the potentially unwilling. the fact that these countries were prepared to get on board and any joint effort, but what it was that they were prepared to do was still unclear. i think it's becoming a lot clearer this morning, that if jim is right, out of washington as he is learning that at least three of these countries are involved in kinetic actions, that is a big step up from just providing sort of willingness and basess and humanitarian aid and hospitals they've provided in the past. rosemary? >> becky anderson joining us from abu dhabi. for more information and reaction across the region and more importantly get an idea of more specifics on what roles these five arab nations are playing in these air strikes on isis in syria. errol? >> well, for a deeper understanding of the military strategy being used right now we
want to bring in christopher harmer, an analyst for the study of war. and joins us live. thanks for connecting with us on cnn as we track this still breaking story. some of the new information we're getting in is that some of these syrian activists claim that the u.s. and arab allies have conducted some targets against 20 bases, 20 isis bases around syria, and of course jordan now confirming to cnn that it is helping with the air campaign. so we expect more of that to happen as the region wakes up this day. but what do you make, strategically of how the u.s. would have participated with these allies, and which countries are doing what? we've got saudi arabia, the uae, jordan, and bahrain. >> it's mentioned that 20 targets were hit tonight. and that is by any accounts a
massive air strike especially in comparison to what the u.s. was doing in the last six weeks in iraq. i think there might have been a little subterfuge on the part of the american military. i think they may have deliberately undertargeted isis in iraq to lull them. there's been an active debate on whether the united states would go into syria at all. there was by no -- consensus on that. we were going to attack them by onesies and twosies. and they'd be safe from american air strikes. hitting 20 targets simultaneously massively outdoes anything we've done over the last months. this is the first time during the campaign against isis that we've seen participation from other countries. i think the american plan here is to force these gulf cooperation council countries to
operate together. we have been pushing the gcc to cooperate militarily for a long time, not necessarily to turn gcc into some version of nato but at least force them to adopt some common command-and-control, common military architecture. they have been resistant on that, and i think this is the americans saying hey, you guys have an extensional threat. so each of those countries is going to bring something slightly different to the table. each of them has fairly modern air force capabilities. nothing quite like the american integrated air power but each of them does bring capabilities. and what the americans are trying to do is to let each of those countries do the best job they can under the circumstances. the one thing that i think the arab countries bring that is an absolutely critical element of this is the human intelligence.
the human intelligence for the u.s. has shut down after the iraq war. we don't have any human intelligence in syria. so the american targets here, what the officers are looking for from the gulf countries is some insight as to where isis is located. not just from a technical perspective but from a human network perspective. >> how candidate on-the-ground intelligence improve just over the past few weeks. when we look at james foley who was beheaded. they made an attempt to rescue him and other people who were kidnapped earlier but their intelligence was out of date. here we are not too much later and of course it appears they're confident enough to conduct these strikes first using sea to air tomahawk missiles and then
air campaign. where then or how, then, did this intelligence from the ground inside syria improve? >> that's a great observation that less than a month ago, the united states, the most expensive and capable military in the world wasn't able to rescue one american journalist, yet today we're able to strike 20 targets simultaneously, i think it has to lie in the syrian opposition. the united states had to show that we were serious that generated a certain amount of good will amongst the syrian opposition. that syrian opposition transmitted some of that information to the gcc countries that then made it back to the united states. now the united states is not in a position really to exploit the syrian opposition fully yet. but there are those gcc countries that have deeper ties with the syrian opposition. that's where i think the americans are getting the human intelligence network from. in terms of technical data for targeting, i am a little
surprised and quite impressed frankly that we've been able to hit this many targets simultaneously. i thought isis would have melted back into the population. it looks to me that they made a critical mistake that the american attack would be similar to the attack against iraq where the americans were hitting one target here, another target here, wait a day, hit another target the next day. this is what we would call an alpha strike. i think we were trying to lull isis into a false sense of security and maybe in one big blow strike them in such a critical manner that we may have kriped them. we won't know for another 36 hours or so how effective it was. but maybe trying to end this early with one big strike. >> live for us at 1:15 on the east coast which what i think is
an interesting theory. did we lull them into a false sense of security in iraq in order to really take them out in this campaign in syria. certainly will take some time to get answers to those questions. you certainly are giving us some interesting information to consider. thanks so much for staying with us on cnn. as we continue to bring in new information on this breaking story. rosemary? >> and errol, the other point is because they've been such a heads up here for isis, the worry was that anticipated to such an extent they would have moved a number of those assets. but now we're hearing 20 targets. that's significant >> that's huge. we're working to confirm that. our reporter is on the border. isis knowing and anticipating this would happen, but did the u.s. suggest one thing and this campaign, it's still early. it's still a breaking story. we don't know how it unfolded,
but did this campaign try to get that moment of surprise and hopefully take out what they say are key aspects of its ability to train and gather weapons. the region just waking up to this news. >> still a lot more to be answered. we'll have much more and live to iraq next. create things that help people. design safer cars. faster computers. smarter grids and smarter phones. think up new ways to produce energy. be an engineer. solve problems the world needs solved. what are you waiting for? changing the world is part of the job description. join the scientists and engineers of exxonmobil in inspiring america's future engineers. energy lives here. can i get my experian credit report...eport card" thing. like, the one the bank sees. sheesh, i feel like i'm being interrogated over here.
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our continuing coverage of the first u.s. air strikes against isis targets in syria. here's the latest information we have for you right now. >> the u.s. and the coalition of arab partners began bombing isis targets early tuesday, focusing on the militant stronghold of raqqah. activists on the ground say multiple buildings were hit, including the governor's compound, a post office and a recruitment center. so far, no word on casualties. saudi arabia, the united arab emirates, jordan and bahrain are participating in the air strikes. within the last few minutes, jordan confirmed its involvement in the strikes to cnn. diplomatic forces tell us qatar is involved but its role is unclear at this point. syrian state media says the u.s. informed the syrian representative to the u.n. in advance about the air strikes. all right, want to head to iraq
now. cnn's anna coren joins me now from erbil. it's just after 8:20 in the morning there inn erbil. give us an idea whether there's been any reaction to these u.s.-led strikes with five arab partners. what are people saying on the ground there, what are they hoping to see and how quickly do they think the mission can be achieved? >> reporter: well, rosemary, i think there really is a feeling that finally, finally they are going after isis in syria, which of course is their safe haven, their sanctuary, and as to the city of raqqah. that is the de facto capital for isis. the iraqis have been saying all along that you can't just target the militants here in iraq. going after member in syria is critical. otherwise this entire exercise is completely futile.
but certainly, what we're hearing from the kurdish regional government up here in erbil is that this is welcomed. that this is a very important step in the war against isis. they believe that having this international coalition attack isis in syria is critical. but they are also calling, rosemary, for an intensification of the air campaign here in iraq. there have been 190 air strikes to date launched by the united states, and more recently by france. but there is a real feeling and criticism perhaps that it's a real piecemeal approach. yes, they are taking out enemy positions. those armored convoys, the artillery and mortar. but it's here and there, rosemary, and while it's probably stopping the advance of isis in iraq it's not pushing them back. they are not retreating. and that's after six weeks of air strikes.
so i don't think we can get carried away as to what is going to be taking place in syria. yes, they've hit them hard. they've hit them in raqqah. there's hopes that they will hit them in cabaun eye, which is where we have seen that fighting in the last few days and obviously that flood of refugees heading towards syria, unwards of 200,000 people crossing the border into turkey. but it isn't something that is going to defeat isis. and that's what we can testify to, having witnessed the campaign here in iraq, rosemary. >> yeah. i see your point. there would be some concern here, too. with all the focus initially on iraq. now, of course, this incredible refocus turning to syria and what's happening there. there would be a fear no doubt on the ground there in iraq that it maying ignored in the course of this. and of course you've spent a lot of time with the peshmerga fighters and the importance of having troops on the ground.
no talk of that at this point in syria, but it's going to be very critical, isn't it? what's being said about that part, presumably the next phase of this attack in syria? >> reporter: yeah, an important point, rosemary, because, you know, at least they do have troops on the ground here in iraq. they have the peshmerga, the kurdish forces as well as the security, the iraqi security forces. but as we've heard from the united states, you know, there are serious questions over the capability of the iraqi forces, the peshmerga, as we know, there is the will. there is the manpower, but there isn't necessarily the skill. yes, they are getting equipped. yes, a global coalition is sending in the equipment and the weapons so desperately needed. but at the end of the day, rosemary, isis is outgunning these forces, and if it wasn't were those u.s. air strikes, there's a very good chance that erbil would have been overtaken six weeks ago and that isis
would have made much more advance across, across iraq. then, you take into consideration syria. you know, there are no troops on the ground. yes, you've got the kurdish militia up around kobani digging in, trying to protect these towns and villages, there is intense fighting there. but as far as raqqah, there is no sign of the syrian military. obviously the united states and the global coalition prepared to train these free syrian army, the moderate opposition. but this is going to be months in the making. so i think it's just really important to stress that yes, u.s. air strikes, arab air strikes finally taking place in syria, but it's not going to destroy isis. they do need those ground forces. they're taking the fight to these militants. otherwise, it's just going to contain them, really, air strikes will contain them. yes, they'll take out important
positions, but at the end of the day, you know, isis was preparing for this. they knew this day would come. so, so this comes as no surprise that finally, you know, the united states' global coalition finally making air strikes against isis in syria, their safe haven. >> we're learning 20 targets hit so far and of course we're yet to hear more on the progress report of sorts. anna coren reporting live from erbil. we'll return to you in the hours ahead. thanks so much. let's go back to becky anderson now in abu dhabi with more on the situation there in the united arab emirates. >> reporter: that's right, and around the region, rosemary. jordan is one of the arab countries, of course, participating in these strikes against isis in syria. the jordanian state manager and spokesman joins me now on the line from amman. and so we do very much
appreciate your time and what must be a very bus ey morning f you. just how is jordan participating in this offensive? >> caller: good morning, becky. we're not going to discuss any military details at this point. we will leave this to military officials and armed forces. but we can confirm at this point that we are part of the strike against the terrorist organization isis. and that we have his majesty and the united states have affirmed jordan commitment to the coalition and the need to strike against the terrorist organization and the need to be a collective effort, regional and international collective effort in order to stop terrorism from spreading. just two days ago, becky, there
has been attempt to cross the borders in the north and in the east of jordan from these terrorist organizations. so we think there must be a decisive action in order to stop this terrorist organization from spreading and from undermining the security and stability of our country. >> reporter: well, i must press you on this. are you flying jets in the air? can you confirm that you're part of the kinetic action? or are we looking at intelligence gathering and other such likes that jordan has been so involved with in the past? >> caller: we are involved. we are part of the strike. again, the details of this will be discussed and released through the military officials. we are planning to explain and
announce details in a couple of hours. but that will be left to the military officials to decide the details that should and could be released. >> reporter: i think it's important to explain to our viewers. i'm here in the uae in the gulf, just how complex this region is and how important it is that this arab-led coalition, as it were, alongside the u.s. is involved. look, sunni arab nations, quite frankly, now getting involved. bombing and degrading a group who, in the name of sunni islam is fighting on the ground in iraq and in syria. just explain for our viewers, if you will, how important and how difficult a negotiation this is, not just for you as governance but for your people as well, that sunni arab countries will be fighting from the ground and
from the air other sunni arab groups. >> caller: we have been talking to our people. i've been talking to local media since the morning, explaining that this is the right thing to do, that terrorism respects no borders, and terrorism will continue to spread and undermine the security and peace of the different societies. we think that this is the right thing for nations to do, to come together, decisively, and crackdown on terrorism and stop terrorism. we think this region has been hostage to these terrorist organizations, and we cannot let them continue strengthening and spreading without doing nothing against them. our people will understand -- >> reporter: i'm going to leave
it there. you and i must talk again. i must take a very short break here on cnn. we willalk again, but jordan confirming it will explain in the next couple hours how it is involved in these ongoing air strikes to degrade isis. this is breaking news here on cnn. do stay with us. a yummy reward is important after a good workout so i give butch delicious milo's kitchen chicken grillers recipe dog treats. that's called inward facing dog. he could do it all day. milo's kitchen. made in the usa with chicken or beef as the number one ingredient. the best treats come from the kitchen.
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welcome back to those of you watching in the u.s. and all around the world. i'm errol barnett. >> and i'm rosemary church as we continue our breaking news coverage of the air strikes in syria. well, let's get you up to speed on the very latest right now. the u.s. and at least five arab nations are participating in air strikes now on isis targets in raqqah and elsewhere in syria. >> a senior u.s. official tells cnn the goal here is to destroy the terror group's ability to command-and-control its fighters across the region. the operation includes tomahawk cruise missiles along with the air strikes. that's a picture there of tomahawk missiles being deployed. the u.s. did tell damascus about the operation in advance. >> meanwhile, isis has tweeted this photo, claiming it shows a communications tower damaged by the air strikes in raqqah. >> for more on these air strikes, i'm joined via webcam
by rick francona, a retired lieutenant colonel. as we move through the evening, we're getting bits of information. jordan now confirming it did participate in the air strikes and also saying they plan to give more details in the hours to come. the region just waking up to this news. but how transformative, how big of a deal is it now that the u.s. has conducted air strikes in syria with the help of arab allies? >> i think that's a key factor here, that the arab allies are participating in what they call kinetic actions, in that they're dropping bombs on syria. this is huge. this is not a u.s. attack on an arab country. this is a coalition, including the united states and five arab countries attacking another arab country. i think this is, this is a victory for the administration. this is what they wanted all along. they wanted a broad coalition.
and they wanted everyone to realize that this is not a threat just to the united states, not just to iraq or not just to syria, but to the region and to the world as a whole. so i think this is very positive. but we'll have to see the results of the air strike, what does it do? does it really hurt isis? or does it just galvanize them and we see a lot of retribution? >> there's also a question here as we the look at new information coming in to us as to how much the syrian government knew leading up to this, the foreign minister said any action by the u.s. without its permission would be perceived as aggression. now that these air strikes have been announced, syrian tv seeming to claim that they were given a heads up on monday. what should we make of that? >> i wouldn't make too much of it. the syrians are going to portray this in whatever is to their advantage. and they want to portray to the
world that they're cooperating with the united states, and the united states is on their side against isis. it, they want some legitimacy for the regime. and, of course, the united states is claiming that they did not notify syria, and they would not notify syria. so on this one i'm going to go with the americans and assume that we did not notify the syrians. i would be really wary, if i was involved in the planning of this operation of notifying the syrians. we have no reason to trust them. >> right. and as we look forward at all of this, you know, the fact that the syrian government, you know, the u.s. cannot trust the syrian government, this is a country that's been ripped apart by several war, after what was initially a genuine uprising that's turned into something different that's allowed isis to gain a foothold in the country. but as we look at intelligence, i know there's a difference between what the u.s. says publicly and what its secret
intelligence agencies know, but the u.s. was suggesting they didn't have strong enough intelligence on the ground in syria to make a dent against isis because of the things i've just mentioned, when they attempted to rescue one of the hostages that isis had in its control, the information was out of date. what should we make of the fact that they're now firing these tomahawk missiles, these expensive assets. what does that tell us about the confidence now on intelligence on the ground? >> we're dealing with two different targets. you're looking at time-sensitive, a small group of people that would be moving from place to place. and almost like a shell game, moving them very so often to throw any intelligence collection off. the targets they went after tonight were fixed. these were buildings, depots, command-and-control facilities. hotels, places where they knew where isis people were going to
be. things that you can't move. so we've had several weeks now, since the president made his announcement that we were going to strike targets in syria to conduct the intelligence surveillance flights that they needed to develop the intelligence to go after them. and, you know, we've seen videos of drones flying over raqqah. so i'm not surprised that we have really good intelligence on the targets we've hit tonight, but we may not have good intelligence on a small group of people that are moving around. >> now we are still waiting for confirmation of this air campaign as i keep repeating to our viewers. this is under way as we speak and this is live coverage as we pull together as much information that we can. there were reports that as many as 20 members of isis were killed in this recent campaign. that's information we're looking into. does that give you a look into the sizeciutto telling us it's limited to raqqah either.
what can you till us about how wide and how large this campaign appears to be? >> from what we're hearing, we're dealing with limited information from the pentagon that's released. we're dealing with targets in the raqqah area, but it's spread out through the euphrates valley. there are several places and cities, and we know over the past weeks that ever since the president made his announcement that isis has been moving their high-value assets and disbursing them, parking them much further apart, moving them from depots out into cities and towns. and if you look at the geography in that whole euphrates valley, there's a lot of places to hide things where it would be difficult to get into. so our target is much more complicated now. because when you go after them, you can't take out a group of tanks with one missile. you've got to hit each tank
individually. it really complicates things. but 20 dead, that seems kind of low. we don't really know yet. and we may not know. bought e because eisis may not tell us. >> and we just showed a map of the most recent air strikes in iraq and in syria, and it does show you this vast space, this network of control, really, that these, you know, sunni militants have been able to create in between syria and iraq on the center of your screen. you're seeing the u.s. air strikes in iraq over the past few weekes, and there on the left the recent strikes in raqqah ongoing now. but as he tells us, they have been spread out, the assets of isis. thanks for staying up with us, rick, really appreciate it. >> sure thing, errol. and of koscourse, many west
countries have a stake in this. let's go to downing street in europe. it's very early there, 6:42 in the morning. so reaction might be tough. but i guess we could assume that the british government was forewarned on these rattacks bu significantly did not take part in this first phase. >> reporter: no, has not taken part. that has been made very clear by france and the u.k. that even though they are part of this coalition and are participating in various ways, they have not participated in these strikes. we haven't had reaction yet. most leaders are at the u.n. general assembly. so we can expect some reaction once that begins in new york. but what we do know from previous statements by foreign sent here in the u.k. is that britain has said that even though it will help with
surveillance flights and help arm the kurdish peshmerga force they will not participate in any air strikes in iraq or in syria. i think the key here to remember is that just last year, members of parliament voted against air strikes in syria. so this is something that the government here would have to overcome. they would have to find some way around this before they would have the possibility of participating in air strikes. but it is something that still remains on the table, according to the prime minister's office. >> at this point, we know people across the globe have seen the brutal footage from the beheadings and the man at the center of that believed to be british. and so a lot of the expectation across the globe would be that britain would take some sort of role, but not just a behind the scenes role. but a significant >> translator: > reporter: britain does play
a significant role. those surveillance flights are going to be critical. so there is a big role for britain to play and britain is in this unique position of seeing not only british nationals being taken hostage but what appears to be british militants holding them hostage and executing them. so britain does have a big stare in th -- steak in this. but hundreds of fighters have gone to fight with militants in syria and iraq. so there are a number of european nations that have a steak in this. but there's a reluctance to get involved militarily. i don't think we can underestimate the impact that the iraq war had on many of the countries here, particularly here in the uk. that was one of the key reasons why so many lawmakers voted against strike in syria. they simply did not want to get involved and they're not sure at this point whether they want to get involved again. but pressure is increasing as
more of those execution videos continue to come out. >> all right. atika scubert reporting live there. still very early, it is 6:45 there. we'll go back to atika later to get perhaps some reaction there. very, very early and too early for reaction so far. we'll be right back with live perspectives from washington and iraq. do stay with us. i have a cold. i took nyquil but i'm still stuffed up. nyquil cold and flu liquid gels don't unstuff your nose. really? alka-seltzer plus night rushes relief to eight symptoms of a full blown cold including your stuffy nose. (breath of relief) oh, what a relief it is. thanks. anytime.
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we are staying with this breaking news. the ongoing u.s.-led air strikes against isis targets in syria. we are using our global resources to bring you this story. our anna coren is live in irbil, iraq. >> but let's begin with our senior washington correspondent joe johns. joe, it is 1:48 in the morning, so what sort of new reaction, what sort of new information are you getting at such an early hour? are you getting anything at this point? >> reporter: we've gotten bits and pieces of reaction, political reaction from congress about this. it was certainly anticipated that these air strikes would begin, although no one knew exactly when. so to a person, for the most part, we've heard positive reaction, especially from the republicans. ed royce, the chairman of the
house foreign affairs committee, stating in his view these air strikes are long overdue. there has been just a bit of grumbling throughout about the fact that the administration did not first seek authorization for use of force from congress. the administration saying it had an authorization from the previous iraq war, and that was enough for them to go forward with these air strikes. the administration worked hard to try to get support, of course. the vice president of the united states joe biden calling around to a number of members of the senate today to let them know that these air strikes were going to occur. the question, of course, is how long it's going to last and what will be the immediate profit, certainly everyone here in washington upon waking later this morning will want to find out from the department of defense exactly what it was that they were able to strike in these air strikes and how
effective all of that was. >> joe, of course, the big concern was the element of surprise was removed somewhat, wasn't it? isis given lots of warnings to really move any significant assets out of the way. they would have had a fair idea that iraq would have been the first target here. what's been said there by politicians on both sides of the aisle on that particular issue? >> well, clearly, i think you're absolutely right. the suggestion had been through both signals intelligence and human intelligence that this group, isis, was, in fact, informed that the united states was coming for them and they were able to, if they wanted to, move certain assets. so the bombing, from what we can tell this morning, occurred mainly on buildings. the question, of course, is whether they were able to affect the command and control of isis,
which seemed to be the united states priority in this first round of air strikes. we'll just have to wait until the pentagon gets back to us to tell us exactly what they were able to do. >> all right, joe johns reporting there. appreciate that, reporting from washington at 1:51 in the morning. many thanks to you. >> let's get our viewers to the region, closer to where all of this is taking place. our anna coren joins us live from irbil, iraq. it's the morning hours where you are. these strikes were meant to target the strong hold of isis in syria, deplete their ability to train and store weapons. that should have a direct impact on the fight where you are, because it limits their ability to use supply lines that connect irbil and northern iraq with many locations in syria. in a real way, is that really the first immediate change that you would notice over the next
few weeks? still there's more to be done with this campaign. >> reporter: look, i think it's fair to say that it's all connected and as far as isis is concerned, there is no border between syria and iraq. this is their islamic state, their caliphate. so they have been moving fighters and weapons very easily. we have to remember that they have taken serious, heavy weaponry, supplies from cities like mosul, iraq, second largest city when iraqi security forces just left back in june, walked away while isis came in, take thing military hardware. much of it from the americans. we're talking high tech equipment worth millions and millions of dollars. they have this. so we're talking tanks, artillery, armored humvees. so this is what they have, not just here in iraq but also syria, they're taking it back into syria. but it's a porous border.
as you say, they have gone after them this morning, hitting those buildings and weapons depot and other infrastructure that has been imported to isis, at least in its defecto capital city, which is what raqqa is. but i think it's important to remember that really what we've been seeing in kobani, which is close to the turkish border, and all the fighting up there that's really triggered perhaps this international response that flood of refugees crossing the border from syria into turkey. estimates of 200,000 people, claims of ethnic cleansing, massacres that maybe prompted the united states and those arab nations to strike now. but at least here in iraq and certainly in kurdistan, we're hearing from the kurdish regional government welcoming these air strikes, they've been calling on them for weeks. they say they can't go after
isis just more in iraq, they have to go after them in syria. otherwise this entire operation is a futile exercise. they are pleased that there is a global coalition that the arab nations have taken part in these air strikes. it's a very positive sign. but they're also calling for intensification of the air campaign here in iraq. there have been 190 u.s. air strikes to date and french air strikes in recent days. while that the having an impact on the battlefield, it's not forcing isis to retreat. that is a important we must stress. that's 190 u.s. air strikes and isis is not retreating. they are digging in. it will be interesting to see how those attacks in raqqa will affect the war here in iraq. >> that's right. we have information that at least 20 different targets have
been hit in raqqa as this air campaign gets under way, aided by as you say there, a number of arab allies and neighbor there is in the region. anna coren live for us this morning in northern iraq as we track this still breaking and developing story. we'll see you soon. we should also note that u.s. officials say that this air strike is happening now inside syria. its intent is to deliver a decisive blow against isis. but these attacks will have repercussions. >> a short time ago, cnn analyst peter binehart weighed in. >> i don't think it was expected there would be this much arab support. so i think it puts the obama administration in a strong position. on the ground militarily, i think it's a different question, because we don't have the syrian moderate free syrian rebels trained, that we've just begun
to train, in a position to take this territory that we are pulverizing from the air. so i think that making it more likely that the real winner from this is bashar assad. i think it's worth mentioning, whether one cares about this or not, most legal experts would say the obama administration does not have legal authorization to do this. it was one thing to attack in government where you had a government that wanted us to. but congress did not vote for u.s. air strikes in syria, and we don't have a government requesting us to do that. it's not an imminent threat to the united states. so those are all things worth considering. >> as we mentioned, this came into cnn. we've learned the air strikes against isis in syria have struck at least 20 different targets. that information coming from a syrian rights monitor. the group says strikes were reported at isis command posts in raqqa city and both of its
western and northern countrysides. sources say a number of isis fighters were killed, although the majority of its headquarters were evacuated earlier. of course, there has been no element of surprise and this group says there are no reports of civilians killed at this point. we'll keep you updated. >> lots of information still coming in. we'll continue our breaking news komp coverage at the top of the hour. stay with us.
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