only on al jazeera america u.s. secretary of state is due in ukraine as pro-russia separatists step up their offensive in the east. ♪ ♪ hello i am martin dennis, you are with al jazerra live from doha. also to come. rescuers are still searching for the missing after a plane crashed in to a river in taiwan killing at least 31 people. back home al jazerra journalist peter greste thank the his supporters and appeals to the release of his
colleagues, still jailed in egypt. plus. >> reporter: i am jennifer glasse on afghanistan's boarder hundred of families are arriving here every game because pakistani authorities are forcing them to leave. ♪ ♪ but first john kerry the u.s. secretary of state is on his way to ukraine for talks with president poroshenko. they are expected to discuss whether washington should start supplying weapon to his kiev to help combat pro-russia rebels. now, both sides are battling for control of positions in eastern ukraine. heavy shelling continues in the rebel-held strong holds of donetsk and luhansk. a hospital was targeted on wednesday killing three and many more were injured. the port city of mariupol has also been hit by violence, at least 30 people killed and does innings more injured in a rocket attack last month.
but fighting is currently at its most intense in the major transport hub between russia and ukraine and that's where charles stratford is reporting from. >> reporter: ukrainian army fire a volley of grad rockets towards the frontline. the separatists say they have surrounded the town under siege. volunteers like this man are trying to drive civilians to safety. >> translator: you can hear shelling and shooting, at night it was very intense he says. >> reporter: i have to go says this man. it's bad in there. very bad. we followed a bus along the mud roads in to town. attempts at negotiating a temporary truce for safe passage had failed.
>> go, go, go! go go, go. catch them. catch them. >> reporter: the shelling is intense. the very few people on the street run for cover. what sounds like artillery or mortars fires towards targets we cannot see. there have been -- there have been repeated efforts as trying to get some of the wounded out of the town, calls for ceasefire, some of those ceasefires have been ignored. and we followed a humanitarian aid convoy in to the city to try to deliver aid to the people trapped here. the men tell us that they are going to an area that is too dangerous for us to film. >> translator: we are trying to deliver aid to people still here at our own risk. we could not organize a temporary truce to come here safely.
>> reporter: approximately 25,000 people used to live here. after weeks of they have fighting, it's not known how many are living here now. only the very brave remain. i walked to deliver aid to people every day shouts this woman. as another shell explodes close by. it is of strategic importance to both sides in this conflict it's a major railway hub linking territory the separatists control with russia. it's believed up to 8,000 ukrainian government troops have been deployed to try to defends the town. they are suspicious about what they say are separatist spies. this armored personnel carrier blocks our path as we left town of the soldiers questioned us before letting us drive on. this road is the only way in to
the town from the ukrainian military-controlled side. and while the fighting intensifies, it is the only route out. for many civilians who remain inside. charles stratford eastern ukraine. >> let's go live to to rory challe end or celled he want in moscow. we have john kerry and joe described end the u.s. president heading to kiev. clearly the u.s. is contemplating a much more active involvement in this conflict. >> reporter: yeah, i think martin this conflict is now reaching a very significant turning point. it's in a position now where the u.s. as you say is considering arming the ukrainian army. this moment was really generated by the separatist offensive that began at the beginning of the
month which effectively -- sorry, the beginning of january which effectively ended any hopes that the minsk ceasefire sign in september of last year had any future to it. so now we have a position where the u.s. is considering giving specific lethal assistance to the ukrainian army. something that poroshenko has been arguing for quite sometime. he's been requested it. he went in the aftermath of that minsk meeting in september to the u.s. and effectively begged the u.s. government, you know, thank you for the blankets that you have been providing for us, but we can't win a war with blankets. we need much more than this. so that's the situation we are in with the u.s. government. we are also looking at nato and nato is at the moment trying to work out what sort of plans it should have for the bolstering of forces in eastern our europe, specifically the creation i've rapid reaction force, that is
designed to counter russian aggression. >> and, of course, i'll of this is not going to go down terribly well in moscow, is it? >> reporter: no. russia has always said or at least been saying for quite sometime that the series of revolutions that took place through the 2000s in former soviet countries were instigated by the united states. it's said that about the revolution in georgia, about the revolution in ukraine in 2004, 2005 orange revolution and the one tends of 2013 that led to the ouster of president i don't know cove itch. yanukovych. russia has always said that nato has been specifically trying to strangle russia since the collapse of the so soviet union with a policy of containment and circumvent and it's pushed right up through poland, right up to the russian border and broken automatic promises that it made
not to do that. so we have a position now also where these developments, mean that russia and jump up and down say and i told you so. >> for now rory, thank you very much. our i don't know end live in moscow. now, investigations are underway in tie won to find out why a plane crashed shortly after take off killing at least 31 of the 58 people on board. the audio recording between the pilot and the control tower has also been leased. now the latest. >> reporter: what was a search and rescue mission on wednesday after flight ge235 crashed in the river soon became a recovery operation. over a thousand personnel both from civil emergency services and the military are involved in this operation. a pontoon has been erected on the river and from there motorized sing dinghies containing drives take it in turn and in shifts to try to locate the number of people that are still
missing. and they have been scouring the riverbed overnight. it also required two large heavy-lifting cranes that weighed over 500-ton to his lift that fuselage out of the river shortly after that, it was a two hour operation shortly after that the cockpit containing the captain, copilot and navigator was found. it took a little long tore find the wings of the plane. now, what has been found are the two block box recorders they will now be analyzed and it will hopefully reveal what happened to the plane shortly after take off from the airport. for the moment, though, it's very much a recovery operation. and taiwan remains in shock. now, the jar dane vinnie king has vowed to wage a harsh war it's the islamic state of iraq and the levant after isil killed a pilot it was holding hostage.
king abdullah has been meeting senior officials in the capital of amman. on we understand they executed two iraqi conflicts in retaliation for the pilot's murder. in northern iraq, kurdish peshmerga forces have been at the forefront of the about thal against isil, dozens of them have been captured by the group and others killed. zeina khodr has been speaking to the family of one victim who was beheaded by isil. >> reporter: he is too young to understand what happened to his father. he was beheaded by the us lack the state of iraq and the levant. he was a kurdish peshmerga fighter who was captured in june. his wife can't speak. she's in shock. and so are her children. but they are also proud of their father because he died defending their land. >> translator: they kidnapped my father and kill him in a beautiful way. we ask our leaders to help us bring bass his body. >> reporter: he belonged to the
tribe, his village is just a few kilometers from the village of the man who beheaded him on video. the killer was identified as a cured from the zabai describe. they are at war with isil but the armed group has kurds in its ranks, there are no official numbers but isil says it as a kurdish unit. >> i am very sad and angry but what made me more angry that a cured killed him. >> reporter: it wasn't the first time a cured was used by isil. the suicide bomber who targeted the governor's office in november was also an iraqi cured. the governor of erbil the regional capital of the kurdish region in the north says this is part of isil's strategy. he believes isil wants to turn kurds against each other in the relatively peaceful kurdish region. >> they are playing on that how to find problem in the community also to distribute it to fighting against the community to stay against the kurds they will try using different kind of
that things to to effect on the kurds. >> reporter: kurds appear in isil propaganda videos encouraging others to join and criticizing what they call the secular kurdish society. most kurds are sunni muslims like isil, but they have their own language and culture. isil uses beheadings as a scare tactic. he was not the first peshmerga soldier to be beheaded and he may not be the last. kurdish officials say isil has captured more than 50 peshmerga soldiers since the conflict began in june. many kurds of fighting age volunteer to join the peshmerga when their region came under threat. the men say they won't allow isil to divide their community and won't the headings and threats scare them away from the battle. zeina khodr, al jazerra northern iraq. we have a lot more to come here at al jazerra including. >> reporter: i am rob reynolds
>> sunday night. >> 140 world leaders will take the podium. >> get the full story. >> there is real disunity in the security council. >> about issues that impact your world. >> infectious diseases are a major threat to health. >> "the week ahead". sunday 8:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. ♪ ♪ hello again let's have a look at the top stories here at al jazerra. the u.s. secretary of state john kersey on his way to ukraine to hold talks with president poroshenko about the worsening violence in the eastern part of the country. the u.s. is considering whether
to arm keif in order to help it in its battle with the pro-russia separatists. investigations are underway in taiwan to find out why a plane crashed shortly after take off killing at least 31 of the 58 people on board. rescue crews are continuing the search for missing people. all right let's have a look a the more closely on the situation in the united states whereas i mentioned earlier it is being actively considered now as to whether or not to step up their assistants to kiev in order to help in that fight against the pro-russia separatists. john kerry as well as the vice president gee jo biden they are due in kiev for talks and as i say, the obama administration is considering whether it should provide heavy weapons to ukrainian forces. roslyn jordan has more from the u.s. state department. >> reporter: the fighting in eastern ukraine shows no sign of ending and the u.s. and the even u. blame russia.
>> i think russia knows what it can do immediately to be of helpful and we hope they will. >> reporter: in other words stop sending russian tanks guns and soldiers across the board tore backup separatist fighters from the south to donetsk luhansk. it's been a rear are year the turmoil of the fall of victor january coachjanuary covejanuary cove itch. the west's response, taking moscow out of the g8 and imposing economic sanction on his key politicians and businesses. the theory the economy will sufficienter and putin will change course, that hasn't happened. so far the u.s. has only given ukraine helmets body armor and other equipment. but on now they are considering giving them lethal weapons as well. >> we haven't taken options off
the table. it's an ongoing discussion, we are taking in to account events on the ground but i don't have anything to layout in terms of intern deliberations. analyst say the u.s. shares some fault in the crisis. the german martial fund says western policy makers didn't consider how russia might react. >> they tended to make this almost a zero sum game or either or choice, either you are a part of the eurasian union of russia or part of the european your ao*upb i don't know. i don't think they tied to find a solution that would make both side happy. and not force the ukrainians in to a choice of one or the other. the problem with ukraine is it doesn't belong to either side. it belongs to both. >> reporter: both president poroshenko and former u.s. diplomats say the obama administration needs to provide lethal aid to the ukrainian military. the pentagon says right now focus on giving ukrainian troops more training.
as secretary kerry meets with the leaders his job will be to determine whether the u.s.' strategy of providing nonlethal aid is enough but seeing the facts on the ground might not be muff to persuade the obama administration to change course. roslyn jordan, al jazerra, the state department. al jazerra journalist peter greste has been speak big his relief at being released. and his joy at returning to his family in australia. after spending 400 days in an egyptian prison. speaking to the president in brisbane he thanked all of those who worked for his freedom. andrew thomas reports. >> reporter: it was just after midnight in brisbane when peter greste landed back on australian soil. 45 minutes later he merged to cheers and hugs. he was he said, ecstatic and his thoughts were of colleagues left behind. >> it feels absolutely awesome to be here with my family, with you guys. but, of coursing this is all
tempered and i will say this a million times, this is tempered by a real worry for my colleagues. mohammed fahmy bahar mohamed. if it's right for me to be free it's right for you would after us. >> reporter: peter left the airport for his first night in australia in well over a year, a freeman and home. on thursday, at a more formal press conference, and surrounded by his family, peter talked about how their support and knowledge of the global campaign to free him and his colleagues, helped get him through. >> you always have your dark days. and i often closed my eyes and just let my mind drift to where it wanted to go and almost invariably it went to the beach. to the coast to the sea in some form. we me and andrew, mike, and my sisters in law and -- we all went sailing on sundays in 2013, and i always went back to those days on the boat. >> reporter: in cairo, it was also fellow prisoners who
helped. >> and i also want to pay credit to my colleagues in there, we would support one another very, very directly. we knew that people had their ups and -- seduce me, their updates and down days, and we were very careful at helping one another out. listening to one another talking to one another. supporting one another. and at the same time giving space when we needed it. and so i think we have all grown very close as a result of this process, a result of this experience. >> reporter: the same deportation law that saw peter freed from jail is also an option for his colleague mohamed fahmy. the al jazerra cairo bureau chief is renounced his egyptian citizenship as part of incident diplomaticdiplomatic efforts to have him deported but that's not available to egyptian producer bahar mohammed. he's expect today remain behind bars until his retrial starts but a crucial written judge think that ordered it has yet to be published. while in prison the father of three missed the birth of these
son who was born last august. his wife can't understand how he shouldn't be free too. >> translator: i don't know why he is still in prison. i really don't know. his colleagues are being released, they were declared innocent is this a deportation? the new law was only made to set the foreigners free to give them an opportunity to leave jail. but for him being in an egyptian is the price that he has to pay. is he still in jail for being an egyptian? >> reporter: the scenes in brisbane are ones peter greste hopes will be repeated elsewhere soon. so peter greste is back, once he has completed a long list of media interviews he will celebrate with with physician family but his feelings still very much with his colleagues, two al jazerra journalists still unfairly behind bars, andre thomas, al jazerra brisbane. now to syria where the capital damascus has been hit by heavy shelling.
at least three people have been killed and around eight others have been injured. now, the syrian observatory from human rights says the rockets came down from a group known as the army of islam. the leader of the group has said the shelling is in response to government attacks in the east of syria. now, afghan refugees in pakistan are being forced to leave the country in record numbers. the ex-bullses have increased since an attack on a school in december. even afghans with proper documentation are being forced to cross the border with nowhere to go. >> reporter: the border crossing between afghanistan and pakistan always busy. is even busier than usual. in january nearly 24,000 afghans returned from pakistan. the international organization for migration says that's more than came back in all of last year.
it's been 36 years since he's lived in afghan staff. about a month ago pakistani police raided his home and jailed his old every son for 10 days basically keeping him hostage he says. >> we had to give them a guarantee we would leave in 15 days time the pakistani police seized our houses. >> reporter: his son has never even been to afghanistan, he and his family are legal residents of pakistan, registered with the united nations and entitled to stay until the he want of 2015 at least. they say that didn't matter. little pressure to eve leave started after the attack on the school. 145 people, most student are killed. two afghans were a reported to have among the six attackers after that police started forcing afghans out. many of the families arrive here with only what they can carry most have gun gone for years if they ever lived in afghanistan at all. so when they get here they have to start a new life.
he says he doesn't know what the life will look like or even where he will set. he says he doesn't even have the fair to get his family on the bus to the nearest sit. >> translator: i don't have anything exempt my children and these are all of my belongings. now whenever god puts me in my country i will survive. >> reporter: afghan officials say they know returning families are vulnerable. but the government doesn't have the resources to help them. >> translator: there is not aid at the border here, all we can do is register them and give them a form. >> reporter: and only about 10% of afghans who have crossed can get help here. you were center where they are sketch are registered and educated about the danger of land mines. children are vaccinated. and the u.n. gives them some money to start over. between 180 and $220 a person. many people here don't know how long that money will last them. and say it's small compensation for lives they were forced to leave behind. jennifer glasse, al jazerra
afghanistan. an outbreak of measles in the united states has caused fresh debate on the effectiveness of vaccines. at least 20 children developed measles while on holiday at disneyland in california and then believed to have spread to more than 100 unvaccinated kids, now politicians are reacting and it's crossing party lines as rob reynolds reports from los angeles. >> reporter: the meetsals outbreak that began in disney land in california has now spread to fantasy land, according to some. as american politicians weigh in with their thoughts. new jersey governor chris christie a likely republican presidential contend never neck year's election seemed to imply parents could skip the shots. >> parents need to have some mesh newer choice of things as we. >> reporter: other republicans were unequivocal including house speaker john boehner. >> all children ought to be vaccinated. >> reporter: and likely democratic presidential
candidate hillary clinton tweeted the science is clear the earth is round the sky is blue and vaccines work. >> we have been warning folks that this problem with measles was going to occur and other vaccine preventable diseases because of the lower incidents of people getting their shots. and we have been very concerned about this for sometime. >> reporter: the measles virus is highly contagious and in rare cases can be fatal. but with conflicting advice, some people have been uncertain what to do. marcella piper-terry doesn't trust the vaccine. >> they say they are safe, they are safe. not for my child. >> reporter: what has end helped the view respite you to spread in the u.s. and other developed countries is the relatively small number of families who have divided not to have their children vaccinated either out of religious beliefs or concern over vaccine safety. disney land gets 10s of thousands of visitors every day. public health officials say one of those may inadvertently may have carried the virus a virus
that since then has become as described president as the debate surrounding it. rob reynolds, al jazerra, los angeles. avid read presser far and wide are gathering in india for one of the most popular book fairs in the world the kolkata book fair celebrates international literature and reflects india's much-loved reading tradition fez jamil reports. >> reporter: they come for the love of books. frank ford and london's book fares may be larger but more pima tend calcuttas. for local authors there is little profit in books but plenty of passion. >> i enjoy it. i told my first book and until then it is very struggling. though it is my passion i love it. >> reporter: the fair started back in 1976 and every year since it's drawn huge crowds of
book lovers from all over the country and the world. the u.k. is this year's feature country as it also happens to be the 450th anniversary of william shakes pierce birth. the british delegation says despite modern distractions people at the fair see value in books. >> they want the knowledge, they want to be well red. and be part of a network so that they can go out and be part of the discussions and things like that. >> reporter: which brings people out to the fair year after year. >> there is so much variety over here that you just don't run out of it. run out of options. so it's never really boring it's always knew. >> i love books i buy books and i always feel like coming back and seeing new books. >> reporter: the popularity of the fair and books has as much to do with event as it does with the city it's in. more people live in mumbai and del a but it's kolkata's book fair that's the most popular. that's because of the city's
long held love for literature and reading and why it's considered the literary capital of india. a few kilometers away kolkata's college street is famous for its book market. the popular saying is if you can't find a book here, it probably never existed. organizers say the importance of books and being well read in kolkata is what makes this book fair popular. >> the status of a person is determined how they read. how they love books. parents from childhood always pressurize on their children to read books. that's the main reason that kolkata has got a huge foot fall for books and book lovers. >> reporter: he does make a few sales at the fair, but for him and others the real profit is being surrounded by their passion. fez jamil a