what was my crime to be forced out of my country. why am i a refugee a somber start for 2016 for syrians hoping that the civil war will finally end this year. hello there. this is al jazeera live from doha. also ahead. iran announces an explanation of i its ballistics program with reports u.s. considering new sanctions against tehran. security fears on new year's eve, so called terror threats from evacuations and
cancellations throughout europe. growing concerns over human rights in thailand. we have a special report. with the dawn of a new year, we begin in syria where many hope that 2016 will bring an end to a war that has killed a quarter of a million people and sent millions more abroad in search of safety. russian fighter jets are being blamed for an attack on a shelter in the aleppo countryside. our correspondent says several people have been killed and injured, including children. our correspondent looks ahead to what the new year could mean for syria's civil war. >> reporter: the play performed in one of the most dangerous places on earth. the syrian city of aleppo is divided. battered by air strikes, shelling and fighting.
despite the intense campaign by russian fighter jets nearby, actors invited people to this secret underground hiding place to put on their latest work. a play about the dreams of a nation hoping for a better life and freedom. dreams that were shattered by violence and uncertainty. >> translation: the play tries to unmask the other side of our personality. it provokes us into acknowledging our sins and mistakes so we can have a golden life. the stage is the best place to tell our story and awaken the world's conscience. >> reporter: the play is a portrayal of helpless syrians, left on their home facing death at home. this woman says she wanted to be a doctor. a dream she had to abandon when her village in idlib was ravaged
by war. her family fled to neighbouring turkey where she attendes youth. she has chosen-- attends university. she now wants to become a politician back home. >> translation: i keep asking myself what was my crime to be forced out of my country, why am i a refugee. i speak on behalf of four million refugees now scattered all over the world. i am lucky. i have a shelter and go to university, but there are many stranded on the border with no shelter and nothing to eat. why do we have to pay the price? >> reporter: a sentiment echoed by those in syria and those who put their lives in danger to move elsewhere. diplomacy can bring an end to the conflict and allow millions of refugees to return home. that would be a great thing. that will largely depend on
whether president bashar al-assad and the opposition are ready for some sort of compromise the syrian army has launched an offensive as part of a broader campaign to reverse losses to are rebels in the south. they stormed two villages on the border with israel. air strikes have provided much needed momentum. further east the army is seeking to capture the town on a road connecting the capital damascus with the southern city of derra. it gives the regime a foot hold to push further south. in yemen dozens of people have been killed in the central city of thies. houthi rebels have been fighting pro-government forces in the area for months. it is on the road to the rebel held capital. talks between the two sides in
geneva last month failed to reach an agreement. both sides will meet again in two weeks time. iran's president is ordering the defense ministry to expand its ballistic missile program. it's in response to reports that the u.s. is considering more sanctions. washington condemns iran for testing missile. it will put the agreement signed in july at risk. we're joined by an academic, dean of world studies at the university of tehran. thanks for being with us. why has the president ordered this ex-transaction of iran's ballistic missile program? >> i think the belief in tehran is what the americans are trying to do is that after the agreement between tehran and the t51, they are looking for new ways to impose the sanctions
regime so that they could compensate for any concessions that have been given to iran. we see a pattern. the americans have been confiscating iranian assets. iranians consider that to be theft. they have been restricting visa applications for iranians who have dual nationality as well as for anyone who has travelled to iran over the past five years. they believe that the americans are not being sincere the u.s., of course, would say that iran test fires a missile back in october and that that was in direct violation of security council resolution. >> the agreement between iran and the p5 plus 1 was basically within a context. the iranians stated specifically at the negotiating table that they will not accept any u.n.
resolutions that go against iran's rights. the iranian missile program is for defense capabilities. especially we have to take into account that the israeli regime and the u.s. government regularly threat eniran with war. the missile program is conventional and, therefore, consistent within a frame of international law. any attempts by the u.s. to limit iran's defense capability on the one hand and threaten iran with military strikes is obviously not going to be acceptable in tehran but the sabre rattling, as we might call it at the moment, are you not concerned it will threaten the nuclear deals? it is only a few weeks when sanctions are due to be lifted on iran. >> definitely the iranians do not want the deal to collapse.
the whole of the political system in iran accepted the deal. the parliament has accepted it, the supreme national security council has accepted it. despite the fact that some people have reservations, it has passed through, but the iranians are adamant that the americans have to do their side of their bargain. if the americans do not adhere to the spirit of the agreement or the agreement itself, then it becomes useless. if the u.s. tries to impose sanctions on iran through alternative means, then the agreement itself is meaningless. the iranians believe that the problem really is that the americans have an irrational animosity towards iran that goes back since the revolution, and many of its policies in this region, such as the support for extremists in syria, the support for war in yemen and the destruction of country after country is, to a degree, due to this irrational hatred and
animosity to iran the program of testing fire ing missiles that carry nuclear weapons are not in the spirit of the agreement. >> no. these missiles are not designed to carry a nuclear war head. this is basically the sort of narrative that the americans have been putting out. we saw that narrative in syria when the americans during the first couple of years were saying that they were supporting freedom fighters and then even the former head of the defense intelligence agency of the pentagon, general flynn, admitted that the americans supported extremism. the u.s. says one thing and does something else. iranian defense capabilities are a direct result of consistent u.s. threats against iran which is itself against international law and is itself a terrorist act in the ice of iranians
thank you very much for joining us-- in the e etchings es security force have been on high alert in several major cities in the new year's celebrations. governments have been vigilant. no credible threats emerged. the police shut down train stations in munich and hour before midnight. on high alert in the belgium capital where celebrations were muted. fireworks in brussels were cancelled over security concerns. police are questioning three apeople in relation to an alleged plot there. the annual fireworks display was also cancelled in paris. francois hollande inspected many
officers over the city. the security concerns are reaching as far as russia. for the first time moscow's red square was closed over new year's. as part chirp reports-- peter sharp reports. >> reporter: moscow always puts on a glitzy show for the new year. it is the biggest holiday that sees million on the move. many here say they are fearful, that they fear a backlash because of the war in syria. the bombing has been going on since september. more than 5,000 sorties have been flown. russia is drawn into an extended campaign. in moscow the security forces are in lock down. the railway stations full luck age screening has been brought in with 15,000 police and droops deployed. among the people, a degree of
anger and frustration at the end of a very difficult year. >> translation: the year was complicated even for us. i lost my job, but i am really gad because now i work for myself. what shall i expect from next year? maybe our government will get smarter and stop barking at everyone internationally. >> reporter: this man is a former kgb officer, now an opposition leader. he predicts protests will grow. >> translation: i think ratings will fall. one has to understand that only a war can prevent that. what war? will it be a war in some other area or a conflict or god forbid on our borders? we can't say. any war consolidates people around their leader. >> reporter: president putin's popularity jumped after the wars in ukraine and syria, but they haven't produced the results he
was looking for. >> translation: today i would particularly like to congratulate those service men who are fighting international terrorism, making a stand for russia's national interests far away and showing their strong will and decisiveness. we are united by the same goals and aspirations to be useful to the mother land and for our responsibility for its designee. >> reporter: if putin believed that his ambitious policy in syria would divert international attention away from his land grab in ukraine, he would be disappointed. there has been no concession in foreign sanctions against russia. the price of oil and the value of the ruble continue their spectacular fall. the people of russia may find themselves accompanying the present on a very rocky road over the next 12 months.
fireworks will welcome in the new year, but the city's tradition of seeing it in on red square has been scrapped. it was regarded as an unacceptable risk for thousands to gather in the one area still to come here on al jazeera, deep in the red puerto rico admits it can't afford a one million dollar payment due in a few days. plus, breaking the ice for women in hockey. the first professional women paid for the league skate into history. history. bring your family and friends together
hello again. you're watching al jazeera. here is a reminder of our top stories. syrians are hoping 2016 will bring an end to the war that has killed a quarter of a million people and caused many more to become refugees. in the latest violence, russian fighters jets have been blamed for an attack in the countryside. security forces have been on high alert in several major cities around the world during that new year's celebrations but no credible threats emerged. tehran is warning any measures by the u.s. could jeopardize the nuclear deal signed in august. investigators in dubai are trying to work out what caused a fire at a sky scraper next to the world's tallest building. it went up in flames hours
before the celebrations. no-one died but at least 16 people were injured. our correspondent reports from du barks ai. >> reporter: in the daylight the extent of the damage began to be visible. remnants of an inferno that had engulfed the address hotel and residence in town down dubai. the night before on new year's eve panic set in as the blaze grew worse. on an evening of planned celebration, this was the last thing anyone expected. >> when we looked out, there was far on the balcony. we started running out. i'm still in shock. there were no sprinklerss, no fire alarm. the p >> reporter: the cause of the fire which started on the 20th floor is still being investigated. it took only minutes to spread across the exterior of the sky scraper. >> translation: it was about 9
or 10 o'clock when it started increasing. then i heard a popping noise. my dad thought it was fireworks. i told him it was a fire and we saw black smoke and it got bigger. >> we saw a fire here in the hotel, and also two explosions and it was scary. >> reporter: the dubai media office said four teams were deployed to fight the blaze and at least 16 people were injured in the fire. the address, the world's tallest building and the focal point of an annual fire works show that rings in the new year in dubai. an estimated one million people converged on the area to look at the fire display which went off even as the hotel still smouldered.
investigators are still trying to work out what happened the president says he is worried about what will happen if war is provoked. he has called for better ties with the south. he did blame them for increased mistrust. the director of the department of international studies. he says there is a chance of north korea and south korea's relationship improving. >> since he took over, the relationship between the two koreas has been especially bad. i think the failure has been in the way in which north korea has alienated the left which is inclined to look at north korea in a sympathetic light. i think we could see the relationship between the koreas improve as well as deteriorate. so little sign of improvement in this speech.
the leader did call on the south koreans to work closely on renoon any indication. he-- reunification. he signalled to his people that he is laying down the law for the south koreans. he called on them, for example, to pursue autonomous union any indication, which implies that south korea's south relationship with the u.s. is the main reason why it hasn't hasn't happened yet thailand's supreme court has upheld the acquittals of five police officers involved in the disappearance of a human rights lawyer. wayne hay has more. >> reporter: another legal setback means the family are no nearer to closure. the fight for justice will go on >> i have many people to support me. i try very hard to go forward.
>> reporter: in march 2004 he was seen being pushed into the back of a car in bangkok, at the endly by five policemen-- allegedly by fev policemen. the-- five policemen. the court upheld an earlier verdict to acquit them on charges of robbery and coercion. the court also upheld a ruling that his family can't pursue legal action on his behalf. >> effectively, when somebody goes missing or is abducted, their rights disappear with him or her. this is a terrible ruling. >> reporter: thailand has signed but not ratified the united nations convention on enforced disappearance. it is a crime that isn't recognised here, so there is little protection for the victims or their families. without a body, it is very difficult for families to receive justice. it means they have to rely on the police to bring charges which in this man's case may mean police investigating and
charging their own. the department of special investigation took up his case 10 years ago, investigating it as a murder. at the time of his disappearance, he was looking into alleged rights abuses by security forces in southern thailand. >> translation: the suspects are thai officials. if you are asking if they have power over the dsi, i have to say they don't. >> reporter: despite the latest court decision, she says her campaign to find out what happened to him will continue. now she is also seeking legal reform so that all families of enforced disappearance victims can seek justice large crowds have flocked to temples and shrines in tokyo on the first day of 2016 to pray for a more prosperous new year. hundreds of people waited in line outside shrines to carry out rituals.
praying to god for blessing at the beginning of the year is traditional. >> translation: i received money last year and i want to save money. >> i also want to save up and win the lottey the island of puerto rico is entering the new year with a debt without being able to file for bankruptcy which would help the country. the u.s. congress has refused to allow it. >> reporter: the island paradise of three and a half million u.s. residents, puerto rico, has run out of time and money. >> what we are asking is not huge. >> reporter: he spoke to al jazeera. >> we have been answering every distress call from congress. there's people in congress that believe that puerto ricans are
good in time of war, but there's also people there that think that we deserve to have the tools, not a bail-out, the tiles for us to-- tools for us to solve our problems. >> reporter: trying to pay down debt, the island has slashed health care and public transportation services. let go of 30,000 public sector workers, closed over 100 schools and increased the sales tax by more than 50%. outspoken attorney john mud says the puerto rican government is mishandling the situation and that the governor doesn't grasp how bad it is. >> there's people from everywhere in the u.s. who have invested in puerto ricans. they're not going to be able to go out and get a job about the reduced income they're going to receive because they're pensioners. >> reporter: the poverty rate is
a staggering 45%. last year alone, over 80,000 people left for the mainland u.s. no matter what side of the isle a politician is on here, if you talk to them and ask them what scottie reason for the recession and the massive debt, almost all of them will point to a 1996 act of congress that cut corporate tax incentives. by the time 2006 came along, most of those big companies left the island. >> this man, a member of the puerto rico senate, says the island cannot stop the crisis without help from congress. >> it is not surprising that the current migration, massive migration of puerto ricans, started precisely in 2006. >> reporter: that's when companies left the island.
creditors have spent a fortune on lobbying against the island remand are ready to start costly lawsuits against puerto rico trying to seize their accounts. >> we are puerto ricans. we want to keep it that way. we're american citizens. >> reporter: as for congress and a path towards economic restruck touring for puerto rico, only time will tell as people here pray for i prosperous-- a prosperous 2016 hundreds of protesters gather in chicago on thursday night calling for an end to police violence. they also demanded the resignation of the mayor. tensions arose between police and residents in october when 17-year-old mcdonald was shot dead by police. for the first time the ice hockey's premiership has gone
professional. >> reporter: the women of the boston pride have seen some tough competition this season, but this game marks a break through for their new league. they're playing at the winter classic, a signature event for men's hockey in north america and a bit accomplishment for the founder of the national women's hockey league. 28-year-old danny ryland. >> these players are some of the best in the world and they deserve to get paid for what they do. the truth is, they've been so good that they can't be ignored. the women's game has evolved so much, even over the last five years, that it's ready for the broadcast deals, the sponsorship deals and it's ready to be professional. >> reporter: the end of the uhl is the first league to play its players on average on average about $15,000 a season. to attract players from the canadian region, going up against today for the women's play who play for the love of
the sport. she has recruited olympic modelists to play for four teams whose regular games are attracting a growing and loyal fan base >> every girl dreams of playing hockey and to be able to play professional women's hockey in your own country and just wear the boston injure see in a-- jersey in a place that i live is sir eel. it is great senior - surreal. >> reporter: there is a corporate sponsor but it has relied on social media. >> why we care about is the stories. if the media is not covering them, if media isn't introducing us to those personalities and letting us know what the narrative is, then no-one will care. >> reporter: still, these fans have taken notice. >> they're still good. maybe i could be out there one day joochlt for many of these
players, inspiring the next generation of women athletes is almost as rewarding as getting paid plenty more to be found on our website. you can keep up-to-date with all our latest news at al jazeera.com >> this week on talk to al jazeera, director and producer spike lee. >> oh snap! >> we gonna make sure these fools put down these guns. >> lee's new film "chi-raq" tacklesgang warfare in chicago - and the idea that a "sex strike" could help quell it. while it's a satire based in one inner city, gun violence is an epidemic. >> how long will be... will we... w