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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  September 8, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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that does it for me. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next on cnn. -- captions by vitac -- hello, everyone, i'm don lemon. we want to get you up to speed on some of our top stories. a tornado? there it is, hits new york city. this is in queens. it hit today. that funnel cloud you're seeing there was confirmed as an ef-0 tornado. it formed over the water and moved up the beach while hundreds of people watched it. nobody was reported hurt. but the twister beat up some houses and tore down power lines. in the presidential race, republican mitt romney is trying to flip virginia from blue to red. the campaign there slamming president obama over friday's
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disappointing jobs report. obama won virginia in 2008. the president hit the trail in florida, trying to hold on to another state he won four years ago. we'll have more from florida in a few minutes. a suicide bomber killed six afghan civilians and founded four others in kabul. the taliban is claiming responsibility for the bombing. the u.s. embassy in kabul said insurgents have no respect for life. police believe the suicide bomber was a teenager. a tulane university football player will need spinal surgery of a brutal injury today. devon walker fractured his spine in a collision with a teammate. he's listed in stable condition. he also suffered a collapsed lung and had to be revived on the field. tomorrow morning on cnn, dr.
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sanjay gupta is looking at football injuries. more than 3,000 former nfl players and their families are suing the league over head injuries and the question is, what did they know and when did they know it? were league officials more aware of the danger than they led on? presidential candidates like to say that every vote counts, but if you want to see which ones count the most, look at where they are today. president obama is in florida, a state he won in 2008, but one that could go for the republicans this year. mitt romney, he's in virginia. his campaign hopes friday's jobs report will put the state in the undecided column. >> now with the unemployment level having stuck above 8% for 43 straight months, we remember that the president promised if we let him borrow almost a trillion dollars he would never let it reach 8%.
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this president has not fulfilled his promises. >> paul ryan is in california, a state the republicans have little chance of winning. and vice president joe biden wooing voters in ohio. of course, not all swing states are created equal. florida has its latinos, veterans and all kinds of other voters. winning them all with a balancing act and jessica yellin is traveling with the president, witnessing this balancing act in person. so the president is in a swing state area in a swing state. so what about that? tell us what that means. >> reporter: hi, don. you nailed it. he's in the -- in central florida in the i-4 corridor. it's a trip of highway that runs across the state and it's where the state's swing voters live. he's traveled from west to east today, and i'm right now in
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kissimee florida. he is trying to appeal to the youth voters who helped put him over the edge in 2008. they're not quite showing the same enthusiasm they showed back then. so trying to turn up the volume, turn up the energy in that group. here, a big latino population, so trying to target that group and some of the issues that are popular with latinos. obama care is an issue that resonates there, as well as some of the efforts he made with sort of the dream act that he's pressed. and also, he's going to do what he can to work on the likability numbers. he has the slight advantage over mitt romney. he's right now at a sports bar in orlando, drinking beer i guess appeals to everyone. don?
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>> a swing state area in a swing state. thank you, jessica. we appreciate it. coming up tonight at 10:00 p.m., i'm going to be joined by the democratic national convention chair congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. it's going to be a very candid interview and we'll set the record straight. that's 10:00 p.m. eastern. two, count them, two tornadoes touched ground in new york city today. there is damage. our crew is there. and at the half hour, a cnn special, a journey to see what people living in the most popular syrian city are facing day-to-d day-to-day. that's coming up at the half hour.
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i want to show you that tornado we've been talking about, the one that touched down in new york city today. >> that just hit land. that's the bronx. >> it started out as a cool looking waterspout. then it started tearing up houses. susan candiotti is there. >> reporter: breezy point living up to its name this morning when just before 11:00 on saturday morning, people reported seeing a funnel cloud. it spread through here. this is a private beech club called breezy point. a lot of cabanas out here. people don't live in these cabanas but they come out to spend the day at the beach. only a few people were there when this happened. fortunately no injuries, but the cleanup well under way.
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minor damage, minor power outages in this area. these guys are already putting some of the debris from those cabanas, some parts of roof, that kind of thing, throwing it in the back of this pickup truck and getting rid of it. but jim brady was here when the funnel cloud came through. >> i didn't see anything, but i heard the noise, the intense noise that feels like you're in a wind tunnel, the debris going all over the place. i just laid on the ground, waited it out. 15, 20 seconds later, it was quiet and saw all the debris. >> reporter: matt, you were here as well, but you saw the funnel cloud. >> saw it coming from the southwest to the northeast. hij huge amount of debris. i put it 60 feet across. >> reporter: how did you stay out ofhe way? >> i just stood still. you're thinking, my god, people
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might have got hurt here. but it all worked out. and harry, he comes from trinidad, he's a manager here of maintenance and he took instant command of the situation. the man was a leader. >> reporter: so glad to hear it. thank you so much. happy to hear there there are only minor power outages and they hope to get this cleaned up. but, of course, they do have a tornado watch that remains in effect through saturday night here in the new york metropolitan area. susan candiotti in breezy point. back to you. it is a yucky day all up and down the east coast. zero visibility on the national mall today. and we learned another funnel cloud spotted in brooklyn has been confirmed as a tornado with winds stronger than 100 miles per hour.
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tornado watches are in effect from new jersey to connecticut right now. a single mother has two college degrees, 20 years of work experience and no job. you'll hear about the grim reality she's facing, trying to find work to support her children. i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way.
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a single mother lost her job nine months ago. she's a military veteran with two degrees and 20 years of work experience. susan candiotti has this emotional story from philadelphia. >> what's at the end of a sentence? >> period. >> right. >> reporter: sabrina young, a former i.t. manager and single mom, used to look at the victims of the recession and feel lucky she wasn't one of them. >> i felt so blessed. i was so glad that i knew what was going on, i was aware of it and i felt very fortunate to have my job. >> reporter: that was before she became one of the millions that are unemployed. >> right now, i can't even say we're making ends meet. we're just staying above water. >> reporter: it's been nine months since young lost her job. she dropped her salary requirements and expanded her search outside of philadelphia. but even with two college degrees and 20 years of
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experience, the former air force vet is still part of a grim reality. according to the bureau of labor statistics, a whopping 14% of blacks are unemployed. that's almost twice the 7.2% of unemployed whites. >> getting shut down for job interviews takes a toll on you. it takes a toll to get up, brush yourself off, hold your chin up and, okay, you know, put my best face on and let's do this again. >> reporter: young comes here to the philadelphia unemployment project, a group that helps philadelphia's burgeoning population of unemployed. john dawes has been with the group since 1975. >> we are in a very difficult time for people unemployed. work is still very hard to find and it's a terrible situation. it's one that we've got to really continue to work at to get people back to work.
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>> reporter: he says it's frustrating to face the fact that there's no quick fix. >> this is just very severe. we're used to a severe and this time it's ended and we still have 8% unemployment. so it's an ongoing problem and it's getting better way too slow. >> reporter: way too slow for young and so many others who cannot wait to get back to work. susan candiotti, cnn, new york. a man's journey across america started three years ago. george is walking thousands of miles across the u.s. he wants to inspire you to change your lifestyle. he just walked into our studio a few minutes ago. there's a health company that can help you stay that way.
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employees are being forced to do more with less. and the need for capable leaders is greater than ever. when you see these problems do you take a step back, or do you want to dive right in? with a degree in business from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to go further in your career than you ever thought possible. let's get started at a 5-year-old is a hero, saving the life of a person most important in her life, her mom. olivia crawford made her mark after she found her mom unconscious. she took charge, figures out how
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to work her mom's cell phone and calling 911, all while taking care of her brother. listen to it. >> sweet heart, are you on the line? >> yeah. >> are you with your mom? >> yeah. >> is she awake at all? >> no, she's on the ground. >> the 5-year-old trusted us and did an outstanding job of giving us all the information we needed to help her mom. >> mom is now recovering and as for olivia, she has a new puppy, rescued from the pound. a thank you from mom for rescuing her. olivia crawford, making her mark. a man started walking across america three years ago. his name is george and he walks 20 miles a way rain or shy. he's raising awareness about living a healthy lifestyle and so far he's walked about 4,000 miles. so you dedicated this journey to your mom, who passed away at a young age.
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tell us about her. >> she was 33 years old, a wonderful mother. i was 9 years old at the time. you know, she was a great mother. that being said, she didn't get regular exercise. her diet was so-so. so that's what i'm walking for now, is to promote an excellent diet, good exercise. and stress management. >> i don't think people realize that just by walking, you can help your health by doing that. what is all this stuff that you have here? >> underneath here, we have my backpack, this heavy backpack was on my back for 2,200 miles all the way to el paso. from el paso, this has gone into a cart i push. so there were some pictures of that. >> you started in september of 2009. >> i did. >> i'm sure it's cold some days, hot some days. how did you prepare for this journey? can you even prepare for this? >> i prepared most lly mentally.
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there are so many challenges that -- so many barriers that you have to find a way to get through. it's mostly mental. >> ever think of giving up? >> there was once in oregon. that just broke me that day. blisters, heat, cold, rain, all this. but i sat there, i meditated and i made it through. >> you plan to end your journey at the white house. why? >> i do. well, a number of reasons, but basically washington to washington. i lost my mother to cancer prematurely. barack obama lost his mother to cancer, as well. and michelle obama has her let's move campaign. we're all on the same page when it comes to living healthier lifestyles. >> what do people say when they see you strolling into town? how do they react to you? >> you know, typically, don, the first question i get is, are you really walking across america?
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and they're just like, wow. and then i have a bunch of different questions and i always answer them. >> lose any weight? you look thin. >> not really. i've gained muscle. >> and endurance, i'm sure. good luck to you. >> thank you, don. >> thank you for walking. >> great meeting you. all right. so moving on now, people stranded in their cars, they had to be rescued, flash floods. it is scary stuff. i'm going to show you where and the water will rise again this weekend. we'll tell you about that, next. . it's the only mouthwash with a new tartar control formula for a dentist clean feeling. ahhhhhhhh. [ male announcer ] new listerine® ultraclean™. power to your mouth™.
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with 59 days until the election, there's no time to waste for president obama and mitt romney. the president made two stops in florida along the i-4 corridor today. the area is home to many of the independent voters that he hopes to win over. his rival is using the same playbook. romney is in virginia today trying to flip the state back to the gop column four years after obama narrowly won it. chicago bracing for a possible teacher strike monday that would impact 400,000 students and 700 schools. chicago teachers union is angry over working conditions and the discontinuation of annual pay increases. look at these streets. flooded in phoenix. scottsdale and mesa. yesterday and today, it is monsoon time in arizona. this is the biggest storm of the
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season so far. officials pulled stranded people out of cars and brought them to safety. at least one person has been killed, washed away by the rushing water. in pakistan, a 14-year-old christian girl is back with her father tonight, out on bail a month after her arrest. she was accused of blasphemy when burned pages of the koran were found in her bag. but police say a neighborhood clairic planted the evidence. in pakistan, blasphemy is punishable by death. military planes bombarded aleppo and other parts of syria. at least 163 people were killed. syria state run media say the military killed a large number of terrorists. officials with iraq's interior ministry says a 4-year-old girl was killed when rockets were
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fired from iraq. next, we go back to aleppo. crisis in siria, inside aleppo, next. sfx: sounds of marching band and crowd cheering and i found myself in the middle of this parade honoring america's troops. ich is actually quite fitting because geico has been serving e military for over 75 years. aawh no, look, i know this is about the troops and not about me. right, but i don't look like that. who can i write a letter to about this? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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day after day, we see the images of stories of horror coming out of syria. in the largest city, aleppo, danger and death seem inevitable. we want to warn you, this program contains extremely graphic and disturbing images that are not appropriate for all viewers. viewer discretion is advised. >> reporter: mortar shells, bullets, bombings, cries of the innocent. screams of agony and anguish. pleas from the desperate. it's been more than 18 months since what began as a small protest in syria has grown into a few-blown civil war.
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members of the international community have called for syrian president bashar al assad to stand down. civilians caught in the cross fire, there is no safe place. >> the death toll is staggering. the destruction is reaching catastrophic proportions. and the suffering of the people is immense. >> reporter: according to the united nations, more than 18,000 have died with at least 1,600 people killed in just one week. here, the shell fire does not discriminate. with russia and china strong in their support of the syrian government, u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton flew to beijing trying to convince chinese leaders of the need for international action. >> we believe that the situation in syria is a threat to peace
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and stability in the entire region. and the longer the conflict goes on, the greater the risk that it spills over boarders and destabilizes neighboring countries. >> reporter: a point not lost on egyptian president mohammed morsi who demanded that president assad will step down. >> translator: i would like to tell the syrian regime, as long as there's still a chance to stop the bloodshed, do not take the right decision at the wrong time. the right decision at the wrong time is wrong. and there is no room for arrogance. >> reporter: but for now, syrians caught in the middle are faced with their own decision, stay and risk death. or go and risk losing everything. about 50 kilometers from the border here, a bombing strike that killed more than a dozen people. and it's exactly those type of bombing strikes that are driving people to the border, making
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them flee. that was seen here today. hundreds of thousands of people flooded over the border into turkey, iraq, jordan and lebanon, seeking shelter, hoping for safety. >> boast of those who you see fleeing are people whose homes no longer exist. they have nowhere to go. one can only imagine how difficult of a decision it is for a family to have to make. >> reporter: it's extremely difficult and dangerous for journalists to gain access to syria because of firsthand glimpse of what it's like for these people whose world has been plunged into this brutal war. the fear and panic that comes with the unknown. the sadness each death brings. it's the story of one city in a country that's crumbled into the horror of civil war. it is the story of unimaginable cruelty and suffering inside aleppo.
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aleppo. syr syria's biggest city and the biggest prize in this savage 18-month war. we drive in at dusk, going through streets peppered by trash and shrapnel. thousands of died since the battle for the city began over a month ago. aleppo's name used to evoke history, grandeur, vibrant trade. but now it's synonymous with weeks of indiscriminate shelling, and brutality.
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terror is everywhere. over 2 million people besieged by their own government. they say whoever wins the battle for aleppo will prevail in this civil war, meaning the fight for every street here is a fight for syria's future. tragedy is so common, though. it rushes towards you. on aleppo streets, a truck races through traffic. we follow them, because we've seen a man leap inside, carrying a limp little girl in his arms. but perhaps because our car is new, he now rushes towards us for help. she's 4. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: go to the hospital, he says. guys, she's choking. >> what's happening? >> reporter: she was on the balcony at home when a bullet struck from nowhere. she's struggling to breathe.
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a bullet has hit her cheek. >> here, here, here. >> reporter: at the hospital, the doctors move to clear her airway. they think she'll live. but this underequipped rebel hospital can't treat her fully. so they make a tough decision to send her across the front line to a better equipped government hospital where we can't go. but this is where the bullet enters her home. across the street is a cemetery and tall buildings, all inside
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rebel territory. but snipers work everywhere. the grandmother saw it all. she was in her mother's lap when it entered her. she grimaced, screamed for mother and went silent, she says. given the trajectory of the bullet, it was fired from one of those tall buildings over there. it's unlikely the gunman would have seen his target, but it's an example of the horror visited upon civilians every day. the children knows what happened. they find a knocked out tooth but not the bullet that hit her. they go to visit her, believing the worst is behind them. it is hard to understand why a sniper would fire into a residential home. yet the next morning we learn she was taken to two government
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hospitals. none of the doctors were able to remove the bullet, which was stuck in her throat. she died. she was brought home and buried in the cemetery where the gunman probably fired from and her home. aleppo's skyline is often burning, but fear is great for the people here, because news about what's happening when cell phones don't work and streets are impassable. but there is one place where the tales of suffering gather. that's this hospital. the moment you arrive here, the scale of devastation is clear. and it's the children who get hit the hardest. this hospital is where many in aleppo run when they're caught by the constant shelling.
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even though the hospital and the area around it have also been fired upon. we've seen many civilians flooding here for treatment. some of them very young, doctors saying the children's hospital has been closed by the government. some terrified, some starving. mohammed, aged 8, was hit by shrapnel fired from syrian regime mortars. he's quiet, brave. but this hospital suspect equipped for the surgery he needs. his thigh bone shattered. so the doctors have no choice but to send him across the front lines to the government hospital. hoping perversely that those who hurt him can also heal him. president bashar al assad is
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history in the minds of the local, but his regime still has the best hospitals, where one doctor works during the day before speaking here to help this rebel hospital in the evening. he tells me, 50 soldiers are brought in every day. but sometimes doctors mercy kill by injection those they can't treat. but if they found he was working in the rebel hospital, they would kill him. ahmed has been hit by shrapnel. his ear almost blown off. they struggle to clean the wound and to find enough anesthetic. at any point, the power would cut. still, the doctors carry on. it hurts, he cries. but he's yet to learn the worst about what the shelling did.
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it killed his father, who is mourned just outside the hospital. the dead here, so many the doctors must leave them on the street. his brother cries. there's no room for privacy or dignity here. they remove the body before ahmed can learn what happened. the blood remains on the street, unnoticed by some. the people of aleppo, numb, looking to the skies, checking what next may befall them. so, we all set? i've got two tickets to paradise! pack your bags, we'll leave tonight. uhh, it's next month, actually... eddie continues singing: to tickets to... paradiiiiiise! no four. remember? whoooa whooaa whooo! you know ronny, folks who save hundreds of dollars
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[ gunfire ] >> reporter: regime forces are concentrated around aleppo's ancient citadel. it's streets are deserted. the historic mosques hit by rocket-propelled grenades. [ machine gunfire ] >> you are in the oldest street here. >> reporter: the alleyways are now home to potshots and a very eerie silence here in some of the oldest streets in the world. the rebels pushing forward, they say, towards government lines. but also being pushed back. and this almost ghostly atmosphere punctuated
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occasionally by the sound of shelling in the distance. what stayed the same for centuries overturned overnight. the new dead lie next to the old. aleppo's old city, thousands of years in the making, are tore apart fast. we're with rebel forces as they push into vital terrain in the fight for syria's commercial capital, towards a key police station. they mass in number and surge forward. chaos, but also bravery. they move to retrieve an injured rebel at the very front.
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somehow, the superior regime firepower lets them escape with their wounded. [ gunfire continues ] when we rejoin them a few days later, they have fallen back the 100 feet they gained. civilians in uniform, they're taking potshots at nothing in particular. goading their enemy with revolutionary songs, even offering them a number to call if they want to defect. but they can't advance again. it's not just the regime's
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bomber jets that hold them back. up on the roof, we see how snipers, deadly accurate here, can freeze the front lines. in this historic part of the city, the rebels are trying to inch forward, but so often pushed back by government forces. in this case, held back by a government sniper positioned in the buildings opposite us. even from the rebel sniper positions, the regime is close but well dug in. ahmed was a conscript years ago, but is now an electrician. a sniper is shooting at them, and he moves across the road to take aim. but his discipline and marksmanship is the exception. he thinks he got him. it's the older men here who are
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in charge. hakim tells me his brigade has given up on outside help from the west. this is our final word, she says. we don't want any help from anybody. we're no longer waiting and we have the means to topple the regime. he outlines a plan for the men. shortly afterwards, this bus appears. one rebel says they plan to fill it with explosive and drive it toward the regime. but that doesn't happen and the bus leaves. a garbage truck arrives instead, which they plan to place down the street as cover for the gunmen. preparations build for an operation. hand made grenades, homemade bombs, canisters full of fertilizer explosive. but the men still lack focus.
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shooting in the dark. later that night, we leave, but they drive a truck down the the. but, still, they've been able to advance. >> the regime fires grenades setting into light. the rebels decide to fight back. this is an antiaircraft gun. they seem to prefer noise to accuracy. they run forwards to fire rocket-propelled grenades. there's too much smoke to know what they hit. more again here but a fight to the death. but this is a city of millions
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finding bread in aleppo may cost you your life. bakeries have been hit by shelling so these people go at night because the temperatures are cooler and in some ways, it's safer. the regime's jets and
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helicopters can see less then. both are scary, he tells me, the shelling and the planes. we leave our homes not knowing if we're coming back. it's indiscriminant. with this much fear and population, the regime doesn't need to control every inch of the city. the jets are launched locally, it seems, from the military airport on the out skirts of town which we head towards. we're moving towards aleppo's main airport. the scene of intense battles over the past few weeks. if the syrian government lose that, they lose their ability to control the air to supply themselves with fresh munitions and, many think, aleppo itself. we edge nearer. the regime positions just over a hundred meters away now. just ahead of us is the main airport. we can see a regime positioned
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down there possibly with an armored vehicle. so we're going to move back now. dug in again, and far from vulnerable, few think the rebels can overpower regime forces if they maintain this vantage in the air. the regime army must hope their enemy collapses internally. until then, the air strikes continue. dawn in aleppo brings the clatter of gunfire above. people are hunted by the regime's helicopter gunships. and as dusk nears, it is to the roar of bomber jets. it's that sound that terrifies ordinary residents of aleppo daily. jets coming in low overhead and never knowing, really, until you hear the blast exactly what their target is. there seems to be no pattern to the attacks unless they're designed to so fear among the
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civilians. a helicopter we heard may have fired the rockets that hit this house. it's fathers, neighbors here frantically coordinating rescue. hands and shovels inside a building that could still collapse onto them. they say the air strike came in about four hours ago, but, still, they're racing frantically to free nine people still stuck under that rubble. throughout, also, the fear the helicopter could strike again. they find the first body. the little girl is lifeless. the blanket providing little dignity.
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near her, moments later, they find her father's body. >> translator: i swear to god we've been destroyed. i swear to god they're killing us. >> reporter: then, at the hospital, where more bodies from the rubble are brought, the toll of the missile is clear. five, later nine children aged from 4 to 11 from the same extended family. in all, 11 people died. then, a brief respite from the carnage. one lone survivor. >> translator: god is great. god willing, he'll witness hashad's death. . >> reporter: say they he was feeding from the breast of his
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mother. she was crushed under the rubble and illed. but her body protected him. a year old, he was born into syria's bloody revolution and may yet survive it still. in aleppo, they will continue to have to kig. most dawns bringing shelling and another dose of similar humanity. for now, the rebels will struggle to prevail over a better-equipped, remorseless syrian military. unless the regime somehow collapses within, they will continue to punish aleppo civilians. the only crime of so many of them to live in rebel areas. >> peyton walsh reporting. i'm don lemon in headquarters. see you back her 1


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