syrian troops booked by russian airstrikes closed in to aleppo. >> this is al jazeera live from london, also coming up, cruz is the front runner at the presidential race. david cameron with a deal ahead of the referendum on britain's membership. with the zika virus now officially a global emergency, why these fish could help fight
it. hello, syrian government forces launch add major offensive to the north of aleppo and captured strategically important towns. al jazeera's zeina hodor reports from turkey, close to the syrian border. >> this battle can change the balance of power in a strategic corner of syria. the syrian army and allies are taking town by town in the northern countryside of aleppo. this province has long been an opposition stronghold, but that
may change. with the help of russian air power the government is advancing, civilians caught in the crossfire and heavy bombardment forcing many families to leave. >> look at the situation, look at those people arriving. allle roads are closed. they're surrounded by the regime and isil. where should people go? there are no homes and no camps. >> he was once a free syrian army commander in aleppo and explained the objective of the government campaign, the army, he said is pushing north towards the loyalist towns. those towns are predominantly shia and they are on a highway that runs between the turkish border and rebel held districts in the divided city of aleppo. >> it won't be a good situation for us. they are in effect military bases. there are fighters and military
weapons there. >> rebels are fighting back hard. if they lose ground, their stronghold inside aleppo city will be cut off from the rest of the province. >> there has been no easing of the conflict of the ground despite the effort to reduce the violence. the offensive is the latest government push against rebel strong holds across the country but northern syria is strategic because the turkish border has been their lifeline. >> russia's intervention changed the dynamics on the ground. the air campaign over recent months has targeted rebel supply lines from turkey as well as the so-called moderate groups that operate under the f.s.a. flag. >> the russians as well as the regime and even the u.s. want to eliminate the free syrian army. they want to say there is no free syrian army and no revolution and the choice between the regime or the terrorists. >> the battle has reached a crucial stage for aleppo. an opposition defeat here would be a major strategic loss and
symbolic blow to the revolution. it is the latest stronghold for those who fight under the banner of the free syrian army. while the fighting rages in aleppo, representatives of the government and opposition are in geneva for talks. we are live in geneva. any progress there? >> first i want to tell you about what we've just heard, confirmation from the u.n. special envoy for syria that no more meetings will happen today. really, we weren't sure about this john mccain just now. there had been a meeting scheduled for 5:00 p.m. local between syria's option be a the h.n.c. and mr. staffan de mistura, a follow up meeting yesterday after after mr. staffan de mistura announce add bit of optimism, saying as far as the u.n. are concerned, the talks had finally started.
now we're hearing the meeting scheduled to happen today really at this hour is not happening. that's really calling a lot of this into question. a couple of hours ago, we heard from the h.n.c., from the spokesperson. he came out and spoke to reporters about the frustration that the high negotiations committee was feeling in syria about they didn't believe the conditions they had set to enter these talks were met. let's listen to more of what he had to tell reporters earlier in the afternoon. >> we are involved here in a political diplomatic process to stop the bombing of syrian civilians. if there is no con sense among the international community, syrian people are left with no other alternatives. >> we heard earlier in the day that in fact the h.n.c. or certain members of the h.n.c.
were a bit irritated that mr. staffan de mistura announced that the u.n. considered these talks to have gotten off the ground and started. they don't believe they had started and that's one reason they met to figure out how to proceed. really, we were hearing a lot of blame from the h.n.c. about distrust of the syrian regime and about how they didn't understand why the international community wasn't doing more to help the syrian people. on the flip side of that, we heard from the syrian regime here today, the negotiators led by bashar jafaari. we heard he was going to press them for more humanitarian aid and lifting of the siege. when the meeting ended, mr. jafaari said the simple procedures that needed to happen for these talks to start, what he meant was the regime didn't have a list, a full list of who was representing the opposition
here. let's listen to more of what mrr today. >> the other party is not genuine or serious enough. we have heard certain statements made by the representatives of the other party here, so the effect that if their preconditions are not met, they are going to pull out on thursday. this is also injury responsibly collaborated and confirmed by the saudi foreign ministers. >> what will all that's happening in aleppo affect what is or isn't going to happen in geneva? >> that's a very good question, because it really calls into question what kind of negotiating power the opposition has here. now, you know, yesterday, i was
speaking to several members of the opposition here and some of them said to me that they don't think that they're coming to these talks with the strongest of negotiating tactics. they're concerned because of what is happening in aleppo. they are worried because of russia's actions in supporting the assad regime. we are hearing not only the aerial bombardment continuing, but frankly seems as though militarily at least right now, that some of the balance has been tipped in favor of the assad regime with the backing of russia. what's happening in aleppo today, more and more towns are being taken by the syrian regime, the opposition is feeling more and more encircled and that really is going to weigh heavily on how and if these talks continue. right now, we don't even know if the delegations that are here consider these talks to have officially started. certainly today, the u.n. is
frustrated. yesterday, it seemed as though momentum had been building. it seemed as though there was a little bit of a positive outcome, some kind of of a sense of achievement. today, you have a situation whereby the opposition is now attending a meeting that they said they were going to. in aleppo, the regime is making gains. the syrian regime here basically feel emboldened that they are not going to do anything until procedural matters are taken care of. it really is a messy complicated situation and really at this hour, nobody quite knows what's going to happen, whether we are talking about the rest of this evening or in the days to come. >> thank you very much indeed.
coastal area that stretches from sirte towards the west, we are talking about 160-kilometer of a coastal area that could easily be used as a platform to launch attacks against europe. this is exactly why the international coalition is now looking into options. one is launching airstrikes against isil in libya. their best scenario basically is to have a national unity government in libya operating in from tripoli with a national army that can take on isil. we know that against the backdrop of the political divide in libya, that could take some time and therefore, they are now looking into different options like gathering more intelligence about isil, the potential targets, and also trying to equip and train local allies in libya to be ready for the moment when they start the military
u.s. secretary of state john kerry said the human situation in syria is a catastrophe not seen since world war ii. fighting intensifying in ramadi in iraq's province of anbar to the north of the provincial capital. three saturday car bombers killed 18 iraqi soldiers. we have this report from baghdad. >> iraqi army positions shell in ramadi. carefully they move in with armored cars as they clear each house. 300 isil fighters, according to the u.s. led coalition are hold up in the neighborhood, taking advantage of the urban landscape to fire at iraqi forces. isil fighters booby trapped buildings on the outskirts which have so far slowed the advance.
this is the fourth time iraqi forces mounted an offensive to take these neighborhoods and remove the last pocket of fighters. the iraqis are confident this time they'll succeed. >> rapid deployment units are divided into two parts, the first to clear the areas and second unit to hold the ground. we are dealing with isil hideouts by selectively targeting them to clear these parts in preparation to further advance towards the eastern part. >> isil fighters are also able to resupply, using the eastern corridor into ramadi and armed group i guess said to have 400 fighters in reserve, isil fighters are still able to fight back, although under pressure, using suicide car bombs, they've mounted several attacks over the last days against iraqi forces, including a base in the north of
rimadi. the city, iraqi security forces say is secure. >> 5,000 families are trapped within the second city of fallujah. they tell that you say supplies are running out, baby milk powder disappeared from the markets, there are no fruits and vegetables and medicine in low supply. isil, who control the city, are rationing out the supplies into there is something to eat, aid agencies say if the siege isn't listed, projec fallujah could fa crisis. a warn caption at aid groups say there's been a spike in people smuggling at greek border with macedonia. we have this report on the greece macedonia border. >> on this northern greece border, you can see how
dysfunctional management of the refugee crisis that become. only letting through afghans, rack i.s. and syrians, that means a palestinian brought up as a refugee in syria is in a better position than others much like him. >> i met other guys from lebanon. they are palestinian. they have papers and they are not allowed. they took them back to athens. >> these so-called illegals have the no choice but oh to risk the mountain passes and forests and the macedonian police. this algerian was preparing to try it for a third time. >> there you can't stay algeria, but stay outside. i sleep here, i'm sleeping there. >> what are the police like in macedonia? >> police are shouting, and like this, and do your hands like that, go flat. >> the border camp has
pakistanis, iranians, and others who will never have a chance of an asylum claim. the european union condemned greece for letting them through and praised macedonia for keeping them out. >> the greece have been threatened from expulsion from the schengen borders area if they keep letting everybody through. the government insists it can't be the place where all the refugees and migrants end up, so the buses keep coming. the consequences of that is there is a flourishing trade now for people smugglers. >> every night it's the same, the a albanian smuggling bands hire migrants to show others the way and off they go into the woods, where stories abound of being robbed by other smugglers or beaten by the macedonian police. the greek police watch them owl go into the darkness and they did nothing. by the next morning, another 1200 arrived just down the road.
many will have an asylum claim. others will not. another 6,000 were on the way from athens, yet there is little sign of greece trying to stop them. >> they say they're from the area and they accept them back to us. the rest with the false paper, i don't think the greek authority realize who has those kind of papers or not. >> this early in the year, some things are clear, turkey cannot stop them making the sea crossing, greece cannot control its borders and the urine union is count be on macedonia which is not even a member state to be its new frontier. it's out of control. violent gangs make a foreign from it. al jazeera, on the greece macedonia border. >> british prime minister welcomed e.u. draft proposals making it illegal to block e.u.
laws. >> britain is a strong, proud and independent country with a great history with strong institutions and people believe, i believe pro foundly in our country and its institutions and its independence, so for us, europe should always be about cooperation for prosperity and cooperation to make sure with secure cooperation to make sure we can have a growing economy and the jobs and prosperity we want. it should never be about losing ourselves in some sort of european super state. >> spain's acting prime minister is meeting king phillipe to wrap of negotiations to form a government. talks were offered to be led between parties to break the political deadlock. the deadline is this month. if it doesn't happen, a new national election will be called. in the united states, results of the iowa caucus vote
have shown just how close the race for each major party's presidential nomination will be. on the democratic side, hillary clinton and bernie sanders were almost tied with clinton ahead on 49.9. martin o'malley has now suspended his campaign. on the republican side, ted cruz surprised with 27.7%, surging ahead of the man who had stolen all the headlines ahead of the vote, donald trump. marco rubio was just over a percentage point behind him with three other candidates, including jeb bush failing to get more than 10%. let's get more live from des moines in iowa. how did ted cruz pull that off? >> we start at the beginning of the night that high turnout would be good news for donald trump, an outside candidate, a lot of his and dates have not caucused before and considered likely voters. in the polls, trump was ahead.
evangelical voters came and supported cruz. he is the big winner in dough money's register on the cover there. among republicans, it was also marco rubio considered a winner, because he came in a close third, just one point behind trump. he was not expected to do that well. trump was expected to do considerably better and having tweeted two years ago that nobody remembers who comes in second, this would be a forgettable night by trump standards. as we move forward, this win knows the field, we've got three winners here, only one president in the last 40 years has gone on to win the presidency after losing both iowa and new hampshire, we're starting to see who the leaders of the pack are and right now, that's ted cruz, donald trump and marco rubio. >> top position for the democrats is super close between clinton and sanders? >> yeah, i was at bernie sanders' celebration last night,
and he was waiting there to see who won. the numbers were so close and understand end ended up being 0.2 percentage points apart. that's a virtual tie, a great disappointment for hillary clinton, who was expected to win by a considerable margin. she had been ahead in polls beforehand. it wasn't clear that sanders was going to get out a large vote. as it turned out in the university towns where he has a lot of support from young people, people came out in droves. there were lines in some places. sanders considers this a victory. he goes to new hampshire where he leads hillary clinton and that means this is going to be a race for sometime to come. martin o'malley dropped out. that makes this a two candidate race for considerably longer. >> thank you very much indeed. >> a former malaysian minister filed a lawsuit challenging a decision to clear the country's prime minister of corruption. last month, he avoided prosecution over a financial
scandal in which he received almost $700 million from the saudi royal family. the attorney general said the money was a donation and most of it returned. a new lawsuit said there is strong evidence of wrongdoing by the prime minister. the world health organization warns that the zika virus outbreak could spread to africa and asia. the mosquito borne virus blamed for thousands of birth defects in brazil has been declared an international emergency. the w.h.o. set up a global response unit and is drawing guidelines for pregnant women. the problem is that the complications of this relatively mild illness do have potentially devastating effects for families, so have a child with mick crow--micro enreceive lee
spreading into asia which have the highest birth rates in the world we believe is a matter of public health concern and constitutes an international emergency. >> part of the solution to the zika epidemic may have been found in a small village of el salvador. they have been breeding a fish that eats the larvae of the mosquito which carries the virus. >> you could be looking at at least part of the answer to the zika virus epidemic. these fish love eating the larvae of the mosquito that transmit the virus. the health official found out about them three years ago while searching for a way to stop dengue fever in the coastal village. she started the first breeding program. the f.b.i. are annihilating
local mosquitoes. >> from 2012-2015, we've had great success in the community. we have had zero cases of ding fever and are not frightened of zika. >> as mosquitoes have disappeared, so skeptical villages have been one over. she and her young team of volunteers now deliver the fish to houses and restaurants all over town, even the village school gets a regular supply. >> there were loads of mosquitoes in the school but now we have the fish in the tanks. before the children used to wear pants because they got bitten so often but not know. >> now the zika virus is threatening, the government wants to expand the program across the country which has suffered years mosquito carried diseases. they thrive in the water tanks common in poor communities.
people not just in this community but throughout central america rely on stored standing water to wash dishes or clothes, because there is such a shortage of it. that does mean there's an ideal breeding ground for the mosquitoes in their very homes. the program is trying not just to keep mosquitoes down but to help the young volunteers stay out of trouble in one of the most violent countries in the world. 14-year-old carlos is the star capturer. >> this really helps me not to get in trouble and bad habits. i'm more focused on helping the community.