curtain raiser in anticipation of that. you know, there are a number of questions involved here. i had an opportunity at the white house on friday when this... >> mike, if you don't mind standing by for a second. we are covering breaking news tonight. here is the breaking news - the pentagon confirms na the united states and its partners began to launch air strikes against the islamic state in syria and in - and word of this now from the syrian air strikes coming 9:30 eastern. the defense department says the u.s. is using a mix of fighter bomber, tomahawk, land attack missiles in syria, and several arab nations have reportedly joined at least attacks. jim walsh joins us now from watertown mass rsh, an international security expert and associate at m.i.t. and somebody who nose a lot about this leej -- region,
especially syria. how important, if this goes on, how important is the first move, jim? incredibly important, and is only of some limited gabs now. i know that sounds lie gobbledygook. but we're bombing syria. will today's bombing fundamentally change the balance of power in syria? that remains to be seen. it seems unlikely, right? this is military power's an instrument. it can help with some problems, not help with others. help a lot, help a little. so it's a big deal that we're getting involved here this is really a big deal but it remains to be seen how important military is relative to the political and the diplomatic. >> the strange thing just months
ago the president of the united states was considering bombing air strikes against bashar al-assad's forces because it had used chemical weapons. >> yes. >> and now, the united states and its arab allies apparently have launched a strike against the opposition to bashar al-assad. >> yes, i hear you on that. i have a certain sympathy for this irony. because i do think chemical weapons are important. you know, as you know john, i work a lot on nuclear and biological and chemical. so i do think it's a different thing. i think that worked out well, he got rid of a bunch of his stuff, wo no one would have guessed it, this has been going on for three and a half years. lot of dead people, crucifixions, people being buried alive, unspeakable
crimes. but we've had this change in policy recently and now we are engaged. but civil wars are a nasty thing and i think it's important. you and i discuss they had before. any time the u.s. uses military force you ask yourself what's the objective, what is it going to cost and what is the likelihood of success. >> we don't know any of this, this has been launched, and this will clearly go on for sometime. we'll bring in david schuster. >> john five arab nations according to the pentagon, saudi arabia, jordan, bahrain, eunt ud arab emirates, and the parent country of al jazeera america. the gulf war coalition from 1991
war against iraq, with exception of jordan which was somewhat neutral then. so these are countries that the united states have worked with before. some of us have covered the pentagon for a long time can recall that some of these countries, saudi arabia, jordan and bahrain in particular, their air forces are more sophisticated than a lot of people would think. and joint exercises that the american military has done for years, it wouldn't have been that difficult of mission once particular targets are located for the united states for u.s. central command to go ahead and coordinate bombing and air strikes with some of these countries. >> you cover all things politics. let me read this statement from u.s. representative michael mccall a republican from text. he says in times of war and peace it's important we come together, cut off the head of
i.s.i.s. the snake that exists in syria. cu tell what kind of reaction this has -- can you tell the kind of reaction this has on the washington? they have gone home. >> senate majority leader, harry reed, house majority leader nancy pelosi, i think politically you'll see members of congress and at least the leadership say they support the president they support what's being done. i think other thing that will happen is because this is at least for initial i this is sort of a coalition with arab natio nations, bombing another arab nation territory, that is a huge deal. again you have to go back to the young pentagon cub reporter back in the early '90s you have to go back that far to find another time when the united nations had
this kind of coalition, politically for the administration saying this is not the united states going it alone against the islamic state in syria, but the true arab coalition that is doing this. >> lisa stark has now moved inside from the white house. cu hear me? >> i can john. >> they turned out the lights on the white house and you moved night. give us an idea what the president's day was like today? >> there were a lot of private meetings and tomorrow is the day he's going to be in public. he's going to go to new york and speak to the u.n. i find it interesting not only did the president not come out and speak tonight about air strikes, he said what he had to say nearly two weeks ago when he talked about his rationale for why he was going to move into
syria, not only did he not come out to speak, but they turned the lights out. the secret service says it's a regular night, we still turn out the lights at 11:00. for us it's hardly a regular night but the white house is starting to project this business as usual attitude, the president didn't come out and speak, they're turning the lights out. we'll have to wait to hear from him until tomorrow. we do understand that he may have made some calls to members of congress, perhaps nancy pelosi and others, to let them know what's going on. as you know we have our first statement from the head of homeland security, represent mccall, who came out in support of what the president has done, who said we have to cut off the head of i.s.i.l. wherever it is even if it is in syria. we'll have to see in the days ahead what is the reaction from members of congress. there was a divided vote on
capitol hill, to hear the moderate groups to take on i.s.i.l. there is sort of a rallying of the troops around the president for having gone into syria with these air strikes. >> lisa stark, stand by. we have sue tu turt turtin. >> we haven't heard anything on the ground. we're only about 50 kilometers from the iraqi border and i understand that some of these air strikes as well as the islamic state of iraq and the levant, strong hoad in syria about 300 kilometers, targets on the border, i think we're eligibility too far away to hear.
what i was hearing was we were talking to some of the syrian kurds involved in the fighting which is the area as you know to the north of syria where all the hundred thousand kurdish refugees have fled because taken into the towns there, just yesterday, monday, calling on the coalition to launch air strikes in the area because they were so being pushed back they don't have the fire power up there in northern syria to really have any sort of defense against this momentum that i.s.i.l. is now possessing in the area. they were saying we need air strikes and we need them now. so they're in security in a way i suppose the fighting that was going on on monday for this start alate into the night here that it happened just about time. >> sue, it's just about 6:00 a.m., just after 6:00 a.m. where
you are. is there any sense that how much people know about these air strikes overnight? >> reporter: no. really, we are looking at quite a way away from where we are at the moment. there are quite long distances from here. although i would say that the jungle drums if you like, the communication has been bubbling since this happened, right through the sort of main operations center in erbil in northern iraq where theres been this coordination with between all the fighting forces on the ground. they will be absolutely aware that these targets have been hit on the iraqi border. there's been such a flow from syria from the strong holds of raka in the last couple of most months as the i.s.i.l. fighters have come in here, the military hardware and the fighters, we
were hearing just a few days ago from several different sources where hundreds of fighters were amassing on the syria side of the border waiting to come into iraq to sort of add to the fighting and shore up the defenses of i.s.i.l. as they moved further forward into iraq. so they will be very heartened to know that these areas along the border have now been targeted by what seems like quite a sustained attack. interestingly, can't tell what's going on in iraq, been i have individual strikes happening so they are taking out maybe one or two vehicles, maybe sort of a position but not with an l awful lot of fighters in these areas. this sounds like a very different kind of aerial bombardment. from what we're hearing reports coming out from various sources this has gon gone on for over an hour, from a variety of different launch pads, doing quite serious damage to the positions they're hitting. although, we will be seeing
please don't already brought up and suspect that the i.s.i.l. will have taken its fighters, will have taken its villagers and started to hide them. even torturing air bases they have been using in various places, taking the weapons and the fighters and blending into the community. willing to take them in or even those who aren't willing have been forced to do so. and the sorts of tactics they're using in the sort of insurgent way is if they need to pick ammunition up or go across somewhere to take fighters they will take pickup trucks and put women and children in the back of these pickup trucks. even if the surveillance, drones, the french fighter jets have been flying over to try to pick up surveillance, even if they see targets they want to hit, if they see those civilians are on these targets they're flying straight away again.
>> one last question about what the pentagon released tonight, suggesting that saudi arabia jordan, ba ray, the uae -- bahrain the uae and qatar are involved in some ways in these strikes, what does it mean where you are that they are involved? >> yes, i think obviously, these nations have quite sophisticated weaponry. some of them have fa-16s and they can add to the air strike but in the end the u.s. doesn't really need them in the air. it can conduct them without it. the point is a symbolic point. they know that they need to be reaching out to those on the ground here to say this isn't a u.s. air strike on syria and on iraq. this is a broad coalition air strike. with all the different nations that signed up to this broad coalition there are forms various different levels of commitment but we are -- we have
arab sunni nations involved in these air strikes and that really works from the ground. because when it comes to fighting, what we obviously used to call quite a long time ago hearts and minds on the ground, the message being the message that secretary of state kerry said this is a warped ideology of islam. this is not about islam a pure religion. this is about trying to use islam in a way of bringing people on board and the message from other sunni ais arab natios this is not a acceptable version of islam and this is why we are part of this broad coalition. i think when it comes to the actual which different counties and villages are willing to stack on board with i.s.i.l. whether force or not or whether they're willing to join the force against them this will permeate through if this message got through this was not just a u.s. jet fighter or drone or tomahawk. this was all part of a much
broader coalition. >> but in some ways what you say symbolic. sue turtin thanks so much. fight against i.s.i.l. with air strikes tonight in syria. let's remind you of the human fight taking place. i.s.i.l. is forcing 130,000 syrians to flee to turkey. our stephanie decker has that part of the story. >> reporter: frustration is met by force. turkish forces try control the few kurds who want to return to their home in qubani. >> we the syrian kurds and turkish curds want to go to qubani. we want to go back to help our fighters there and at least to protect our homes. >> reporter: it's been tense
here as the men brought their wives and children into turkey to flee the islamic state of iraq and the levant. they say they don't want to stay in turkey. syrian kurdish fighters have been able to keep i.s.i.l. at bay but no one flos how long that will last. seems to ignite decades of fighting between the iraqis the turkish and the kurds. pkk and the turkish government since last year but now kurds feel increasingly under attack. >> the turkish government says there are steeps from kurds. they are trying to empty this land of the curds on both sides of the bother.
>> but the last few days tell a different story. over 130,000 kurds have come here to escape i.s.i.l.'s advances. it's been the greatest influx of people since this conflict began. there are already more than a million syrian refugees here. >> we feel we have lost everything. we have been humiliated tortured, i.s.i.l. captured our women and cut off people's heads. we barely escaped. >> what i.s.i.l. has gotten including killings and cutting off heads. returning home could be a long while yet. stephanie decker al jazeera on the turkey syria border. >> as we mentioned just after 6:15 in the morning where it's daylight and al jazeera's imran khan is in baghdad with more on this. what are you hear imran?
>> well, let me tell you that what is happening right now in syria is being watched very close hi here in iraq. particularly the tactics that the americans and its allies are using. now we have heard that there is arab involvement in this as well at least 5 arab nations involved on this attack on syria it's been long maintained that there won't be a solution to the i.s.i.l. threat in iraq without some action in syria. we are finally having that action in syria but there is a crucial difference i do need to explain. this is here in iraq when the air strikes happen iraqi and kurdish ground troops are able to go in and clear areas of i.s.i.l. fighters. in syria they don't have that option. these are big air strikes that are taking place against key i.s.i.l. targets. that's what we've been told but there is no ground force of the americans and their allies can go into those areas to clear out the fighters.
when that happened in iraq in the initial stages of the air strikes it meant that the i.s.i.l. fighters were able to simply disappear into villages. they were able to go across the border into syria and regroup. although these air strikes will be key and seen as a game changer by many here in iraq and welcomed by many here in iraq exactly how much difference they will make to fighting i.s.i.l. troops on the ground who may have just walked away from the targets that the americans and their allies have hit remains to be seen. >> i mean firm let me just ask you this. -- how are people in baghdad watching this on tv, and what are they hearing? >> well baghdad is just waking up. like i said it's just a little after 6:20 a.m. here, baghdad is just waking up to this news. they will be tuned to a lot of news channels who will be
reporting, state tv will be reporting. but information in baghdad through official channels is very strictly controlled. how much detail we do not know. they will be tuning to al jazeera arabic. remember this is an arabic speaking nation. the other thing we have got to look at is what i.s.i.l. will do. already before this attack happened just in the last seven or eight hours i.s.i.l. released a statement, a doctrinal change for them. they were encouraging muslims living in america and america's allies to attack targets and not wait for i.s.i.l. to say to themselves if they have any in america, simply saying if you are a muslim and feel passionately, you need to go out and strike american targets, this is a religious war. if they got anything to do with this statement released? we are not sure but the timing has to be questioned.
centcom were in charge of this attack, it's likely they have picked up these targets and waiting for the right moment. and president obama about to address the united nations and the timing has to be seen as important. >> mark kimmet, general welcome it's good to have you on the program. >> thank you for having me. >> give me your reaction to what you've heard tonight. >> well i think this is the first attack that we're seeing inside syria, will certainly not be the last. i think it is going to be a long protracted operation, probably similar to what we're doing in pakistan and libya and yemen than what we're doing inside of iraq right now. this is an operation that cannot take only weeks or months it could take years. what it does is take the
initiative way from i.s.i.l, probably reversing their offensive, focus on what's happening inside syria instead of what's happening in iraq. >> drones, bombers may have been used in this operation. what might an operation like this look like? >> well what they're going to be going after are logistic sites, six sites, sites that are emitting an electronic signature, sites that can't be quickly moved or rapidly moved. i think what they're trying to do is take away the offensive capability for the short term. not going avid tanks or platoons but against fixed sites or
logistic sites would be my assumption. vietnam, where laos and cambodia were used as staging areas i think what we're doing is attacking those staging areas. i think that's the issue of attack tonight. i don't think we'll see the destruction of i.s.i.l. in again days or weeks. this is a long term effort probably akin to what we've been trying to do to al qaeda for years and years. take away some of their capability degrade some of their capability, take away their immediate offensive capability. but nobody is expecting this to be a destructive mission happening tonight and this certainly will not be accomplished. >> we have heard it is not shock and awe but clearly an extensive operation. how many strikes could we be talking about just in the first 24 hours? >> they could probably be doing 20 to 25 strikes tonight.
depending on how many planes that were able to mount. if they're doing a combination of key lands, u.s. aircraft, bahraini aircraft, saudi arabian aircraft they could have 20 to 30 target sets tonight. >> cu talk about the president has -- can you talk about the president says no boots on the ground but clearly, this is important for the american military involved right? >> it is. we shouldn't take away the fact that there is suspicion that i.s.i.l. may have some antiaircraft capability and certainly the case where they are working in an area where syria possesses a significant amount of antiaircraft capability as well. this is not going to be sanitary or risk free, we should be proud of our soldiers and more importantly our airmen operating in syria. >> is it probable that bashar
al-assad will move in and launch his own air strikes? >> i think he will take advantage of it. he has to be very, very careful he made find some of those coalition aircraft going after his own aircraft against some of his own air defense sites. >> would the u.s. have quietly warned him not to do this before? >> i think that is quite self evident. he understands if the americans are going to attack he flips off his air defense switches. >> how important is popular support for united states for an operation like this? >> well it's up to the president to convince the american people that this is what needs to be done. he has to earn the popular support of the american people to continue this for some period of time. >> has he? >> it's essential to maintain the momentum over time. because this is going to take a significant amount of time and he's not going to be able to do it without the popular sport of the american people.
>> how much does it cost? >> we're talking, the operation tonight is going to be costing in the tens of millions if not more. >> over time, how much is the united states going to need to spend to do the job that the president says he needs done? >> well i think that's for president to tell that to the american people and to the united states congress. >> general good to have you on the program. thank you very much for talking with us tonight, we appreciate it. >> sure. >> now lawrence korb is a former assistant u.s. secretary of deeives and he's talking tonight about the air strikes. >> i think one thing they're trying to do, two things, the ability of i.s.i.l. to wage offensive attacks in syria or iraq and the other is to cut the narrative of i.s.i.l. that they are the ones chosen to stability an islamic caliphate in that part of the world. because some of the countries
with the united states are also sunni muslim countries. you are not ever going to kill all of them as we found out. we're still dealing with al qaeda and its offshoots 13 years later, but the americans don't want to deal with it either, this is more their fight than ours. the fact that they're with us, helps obama's sport in the congress and the american people. >> that was lawrence korb. we are getting word that the u.s. air strikes with tomahawk bombers and possibly drones and several arab states, aish nations are reportedly -- arab nations are reportedly involved in this action. reaction from washington, d.c, peter king, republican from new york tweeted this just a little while ago, all americans must stand with president obama in our war against i.s.i.s,
particularly air strikes in syria. and we heard from u.s. representative mike mccall a republican from texas, chairman of the committee on homeland security. and today he released this statement. when in times of war and peace it is important that we come together as a nation, to defeat i.s.i.s. we must cut off the head of the snake. which exists in syria. it appears the united states has begun to do or tried to do just that tonight. there's no indication of how long this operation will continue. obviously, we're keeping our eye on other news that's happening today but we'll get back to this story in just a moment. paul beban is here with that story. paul. >> three afghans who disappeared from a military base in cape cod have been found. taken into custody, canadian border near niagra falls. they told customs agents they
were refugees. last week two afghan men disappeared and were found in buffalo new york. angry residents about last month's shooting of teen michael brown. he was shot by a ferguson police officer unarmed at the time. his death ignited weeks of sometimes violent protests. diane eastabrook has more from ferguson. >> this was organized by the ferguson mayor, city council around also by the department of justice. but when we got here this evening the meeting was only allowing people from the city of ferguson to get in. they even had to present beings identification to get into the door. we came here with the intention of attending the meeting but were not allowed inside. after the meeting we talked to some of the people who attended and said they were actually satisfied with what they heard tonight. >> it was about healing, it was
about getting along and people were actually asking their own personal questions about what was going to be done about the unrest, and the perception that people have of ferguson. >> reporter: now the city is sponsoring these meetings in an effort to open up a dialogue between the city council and the mayor and the residents. there are going to be four more of these meetings between now and the end of october. >> john, that's some of the other headlines of the evening. back to you for this crisis. >> all right paul beban thank you very much. break news, air strikes in syria. the united states and its allies have launched a strike overnight. we don't know the extent but we do know it was using bombers and drones. we'll take a quick break and get right back to it.
$. >> hi everyone this is al jazeera america, i'm john siegenthaler in new york. we are following breaking news tonight. for the first time the u.s. and its partners have begun air strikes against i.s.i.l. targets inside syria. our nick schifrin is live in syria with this, nick. >> he's are three moments coming together for president obama that he is trying to seize, one, surprise, we thu that the u.s. was going to attack syria but i.s.i.l. fighters obviously didn't know when, the middle of the night. pentagon has of course studied these sites, number two we have a humanitarian crisis that the
u.s. is trying to address, 130,000 as you have been talking about syrian kurds fleeing over the border to turkey. and also something we haven't talked about enough which is american leadership, that is a phrase that obama really shied away from for a long time especially when it came to the middle east, he embraced on hes septembehisseptember the 10th s, absolutely no coincidence that the strikes go on the same day that president obama goes to new york for what is called the super bowl of diplomacy, he will look at all sorts of foreign leaders who will know he took this decision he didn't take a year ago to strike syria. and one other point we haven't mentioned john in our coverage. the united states tried to rescue american hostages, jim foley and steven sotloff, american journalists who were beheaded by i.s.i.l.
that attempt actually revealed that syrian air defenses weren't as good as perhaps the u.s. thought or at least weren't as good as syria was claiming they were and that helped give the confidence to the u.s. military and the white house that these strikes can happen tonight without too much fear of syria certainly doing anything in response to that regardless what it would politically. >> obviously it is early where you are. but you wouldn't expect necessarily for israel to have much response to this right now, yes or no? >> reporter: israel has certainly been supportive of this. again it wants to see american presence, american decision making for israel, like a lot of countries here, there is a bit of a mixed bag. there are now quealt linked al d fighters closer to the israeli border than there ever has been because of the iraqi civil war.
some are on one side of the fence they want saud out assad has been a historic enemy of israel, but with assad out it will allow more militant fighters getting closer to its borders. but israel offering any help it can, the u.s. would not publicly acknowledge that but israel offering intelligence from satellites and drones, israel is trying to participate in this coalition but the main members of the coalition, saudi arabia, jordan, ba ray, uae and-d bahrain uae and qatar, those are the main regional allies certainly in addition to turkey. >> nick what sort of play is this getting in the israeli press this morning?
>> well, it's simply too early. i think the best judge of this is the israeli twitter needs which are as busy as they are in washington or anywhere else. but like my colleague imran was saying from baghdad, people will wake up from jerusalem or tel aviv or baghdad or beirut or anywhere really in this region and really feel that this is a new day. i mean united states has shied away from this kind of aggression in the middle east under president obama in the last year or year and a half. and that has been a shift of course in u.s. policy away from the middle east. and so this region will wake up knowing that he has made this decision, the pentagon has made the decision and as everyone has been saying, this is not a one-off. this is going to take days weeks months years to actually go
through. >> nick schifrin, in jerusalem, thank you. there is no word where the united states launched these strikes but there are many places they could have launched the strikes. lisa stark with more on that lisa. >> we do not have the specific details as you said about where these strikes came from, from the pentagon. they have indicated that this is an ongoing operation and while that's happening they don't want to give out any operational details. we should learn much more tomorrow about exactly where the strikes came from. we do know that turkey for example in the past had indicated it was not going to allow the u.s. to use the base there in turkey to launch strikes against syria so it will be interesting to see if that has changed at all. now that turkey who had its 49 diplomats now that those have been freed whether turkey felt more open to allow that. that is not one of the five arab
partners we are told helped with this effort. so john i would expect that probably there were no planes launched from had a air base in turkey. but the u.s. has a lot of assets and ability in that area, both in the air obviously but on the sea. there are bases that they can even even launch from europe and reach syria which is there of course right on the mediterranean. they have a lot of resources they can draw from which is. larger than the strike they launched against i.s.i.l. in iraq. this is a much more concerted effort really sending a message i guess and the u.s. launching i said a much more concerted effort in syria than it started the strikes in iraq. >> lisa when is the president going to address the u.n. tomorrow? we'll find out.
>> i'm sorry i can't remember. but i do want to say that we are starting to get the first congressional reaction. we understand that the white house did reach out to congressional leaders to tell them spieker boehner and others that these acre are strikes were coming. the white house has made it very clear that it wants to keep congress in the loop that it wants to inform congress what it's doing. as you can imagine the first response from members of congress very, very supportive, very, very positive, as you can imagine. representative peter king says all must stand with president obama in our war against i.s.i.l. representative michael mccall saying to defeat i.s.i.l. we must cut off the head of the snake which exists in syria and buck mckeon saying this will be one step in what will be a long fight i with i.s.i.l.
this is not going to be a quick campaign, this is going to be a very lengthy campaign and they have put no time frame on it because of course they don't know how long it's going to take or even what it's going to cost but they've indicated this is a long term effort. >> lisa stark thank you very much. as we told you earlier there are a number of arab nations involved in this operation according to state department sources our david schuster reports saudi arabia, qatar which funds this network, jordan, bahrain and united arab emirates, the extent of that cooperation or participation is not known. mike lyons joins us here, give us your reaction what you've seen so far?
>> we've achieved the element of surprise. i.s.i.s. was planning on being attacked at some level but not today. so i think we went after likely three groups of targets, command and control, strategic targets, if we're using tomahawk missiles that means we're trying to take down very big structures. planning many where i.s.i.s. soldiers could be, resting hopefully, and logistic structures, no known targets were hit tonight. >> where would they have come from? >> from the sea, persian gulf, could fire over 500 miles away and hit a target within a 55 gallon drum the kind of technology we have. >> where would they be working from? >> some of the land paces, places in saudi arabia. if other arab nations were involved which is key to this, they had more of the immediate effect to get back home to home base. it is still going on i'm told so
there could be an operation still to be fired. again coming from those closer arab countries. >> we heard from sue turtin in iraq that suggested the view from iraq might be that the arab nations were involved mostly in a symbolic way. >> uh-huh. >> how important is the involvement of those nations? >> very important john i think also when we wake up tomorrow morning the key is going to be what do the religious leaders say? if you have got the religious leaders in support of this the fact that the arab inflations were involved, this was a good thing what the u.s. did to get rid of this organization in the middle east that would be a double victory for the coalition. >> the president was taken to task because of his comments he didn't have a strategy. do you think the united states has had a plan for a long time waiting to launch it or not? >> it has been very much held in reserve. the president wanted to wait until the very last minute before he launches the strike.
when he puts u.s. service and air men in harm's way he thinks about it a lot. he was very reserved. i think we got the element of surprise and that's going to be important. >> so we heard about the tools in this campaign. and the possible targets. how long will it last? >> it's the beginning of the beginning. i think now, let's say, we now have air strikes that will separate the syrian i.s.i.s. troops from the iraqi i.s.i.s. troops and that gives more confidence that those troops won't be reinforced. that is really the plan to cut off the operation, now we're going to try to separate it divide it out to make sure it can't be reinforced and slowly attrit it away. >> we have seen 130,000 refugees, moving out of this country. what is likely to happen, more
refugees? >> they have got to get moving on that quickly. not only in north in turkey but in jordan. that has got to be addressed, 100,000 people that have moved out without a home. they can move back to their town in the northern part of syria, that is clear the mission, the humanitarian effort, that president obama said was part of the four major tenets of his response. >> how is syria i.s.i.l. going to respond? >> if we were to stray down a tremendous amount of infrastructure this is a fairly big blow. that is not to say they won't have another body blow at some point. >> they are supposed to have sphirveghtesophisticated weapon. how can they strike back? a terrorist attack? >> they'll likely look for a place they'll gain success, inside syria possibly move
towards aleppo, or from their perspective they will need win after this very significant blow from the air by this coalition. >> the war does not use the word war, he has described it in many different ways but it sure feels like war tonight. >> if you are a military person war is a bright line between good and evil and i'm sure those pilots flying over those targets felt like they were at war as well. >> so are we expected -- you would expect this goes on weeks, months. >> i think the initial campaign will likely, the shock and awe at least for the next 24 hours and then using air strikes to separate the two militaries, i think it can go on for months. we are still going to have to get sunni iraqis awakened to the fact that they need to fight i.s.i.s. in those towns. i.s.i.s. locations are long the tieg resistigrus euphrates rive.
>> stand by mike. syrian president bashar al-assad is fighting in a three year war. randall pinkston has more on that story. >> reporter: syrian president bashar al-assad inclination to power battling a three-year-old civil war this according to the united nations has killed more than 150,000 and displaced 10 million. >> as is common in a lot of civil wars, the longer they last, and the more brutal they become, the more radicalized the indigenous population grows and the more likely they or the attract radicals from outside. >> reporter: the u.s. has been a vocal opponent. president obama called for assad's ouster three years ago but as the violence has grown one security analyst says america's actions were not enough. >> up until now the u.s. strategy has been to support some of the rebel groups in the hope of putting sufficient pressure on assad and getting a deal with the assad regime.
>> reporter: while the u.s. the west and the arab world hesitated i.s.i.l. fighters moved aggressively using effective tactics and strategies to take and hold territory. >> the first thing that they do is usually to seize the bank or seize the local police station or seize the local army barracks and when they seize those things they don't only seize weapons, they seize payroll, giving them cash on hand to build their empire. >> reporter: success on the battlefield and the slick military campaign has swelled i.s.i.l.'s ranks. not confined to syria and iraq. on the long run it wants to rule all the world's muslims. but for now, its power is built on its appeal to sunni muslims in syria and iraq. >> but it's also the group that's potentially the most dangerous in the long term, they are the most indigenous and they
understand the social and political networks in the places where they've lived. >> georgetown university's says, in the middle east. >> the middle east is the place where all the religious and thoipg and other groups-d ethnic and other groups come together like spokes on a pinwheel. you have the druids, you have the sunni you have christians of two different varieties. if you allow that society to be fundamentally destabilized into perpetuity you have basically got a middle east that is going to be fundamentally destabilized into perpetuity as well. >> reporter: which may be one reason why the u.s. is intervening, to eventually set the stage for negotiated settlement for all the parties in the region. randall pinkston, al jazeera.
>> jonathan betz is at the map. jonathan. >> i.s.i.l. moved yet closer to another syrian city ein al arab, 130,000 refugees from syria went into turkey. does dozens of villages nearby were taken. turkey opened up the border to let hundreds of thousands of credit kurds into turkey. turkey has the second largest population of syrian refugees, behind lebanon. turkey has felt the crisis. stopped by turkish please to head back into syria, a lot wanted to return and fight. it is important to point out the kurds live in land stretching from turkey to iraq in this purple-blue area. u.s. launched attacked after
i.s.i.l. launched attacked in iraq. so now we're seeing u.s. air strikes again in syria after i.s.i.l. tried to capture kurdish towns in syria john. >> thank you jonathan. chairman of the committee on homeland security released this statement on air strikes against i.s.i.l. tonight. in times of war and piece it's important that we come together as a nationehe said. to defeat i.s.i.s. he said, we must cut off the head of the snake which exists in syria. the chairman of the house armed services committee buck mcewan said our men and women are striking against i.s.i.l, strong coalition partners, a capable military and a clear mission it is a fight we can
win. rula amin is in aman jordan. more from there. >> king abdalla of jordan was very clear when he made statements basically stating jordan's position against i.s.i.l. and the dangers i.s.i.l. poses. however the jordanian government has been very careful interfering in the syrian conflict. syria is very close to the border in jordan. jordan has about a million refugees that fled the country and in the past few weeks there has been attempts to make sure i.s.i.l. has no supporters inside this country and there will be no attacks by its supporters on any target inside jordan. now, where we have little group of people voicing support in remote villages and towns in jordan but as i said it's very
small group. the government security forces have been arresting unsuspected militants whom they suspect will have any relationship to i.s.i.l. trying oinfiltrate this country. what is important is that all these arab countries taking part in these air strikes against targets in syria are not only providing the united states with military help. it's more a political support, it's more political cover for u.s. action in syria. we have to remember, in iraq, the u.s. government basically attacked targets there, upon the request of the iraqi government. in syria the syrian government had maid it clear, any -- made it clear any attack against targets inside syria had to be coordinated with damascus. the u.s. says it will not coordinate with president bashar al-assad. they still fee very strongly that they are not going to coordinate with his troops. if you hear in the past few
weeks, analysts and figures who are close to the syrian regime they have been hypotheticalling and make it very clearly that behind the door coordination with the united states through spirit partners, partners like the iraqi government who have very good relationship with bashar al-assad. even if there was no official coordination with damascus they were behind closed doors concerned partners coordination. they are trying to save face because initially the syrian foreign ministers had made it clear that damascus, they might try to stop it. now tonight we find they did not stop it, air doofnses -- defenses did not do anything. happening after coordination, we don't know. >> that's rula amin.
in damascus. one of the concerns about all of this has been if i.s.i.l. is stopped in iraq and stopped in syria that it might move toward jordan. what is the likelihood of that and why is jordan so concerned and possibly involved in this? >> no question if they were successful in syria as they would have been and inside iraq as they gain strength gain equipment, that is part of their caliphate to head towards jordan and eventually take that country as well, what would israel have done, would israel have launched something preemptively? >> when the united states went into iraq the american people were told what the american government thought would happen. it didn't turn out that way. how can the united states be certain that it will turn out
the way that the president wants this time? >> you know, the difference is, you know had we had 20,000 troops there there's no question i believe that this wouldn't have happened. i.s.i.s. wouldn't be in iraq. that border would have been secure. but where the position we are in right now we have got to play the card we're dealt, air power from the coalition, the iraqi security force, then the coalition continuing to figure out how to deal with syria. >> there's been this whole conversation about how the united states would propose an alternative vision would speak out in arab nations and get religious leaders to speak out with that sort of alternative vision. with the u.s. launching a strike like this is it possible it could back fire politically in the arab world? >> it could. had we done this ourselves this would have been a tremendous setback. we need to hear from the coalition tomorrow, find out what they were involved let them
take credit on a lot of levels and again the religious leaders like we talked about before will be an important part of this conversation as well. >> the peshmerga fighters in the kurdistan region how important is this strike to their fight? they have been carrying this fight against i.s.i.l. almost alone on their shoulders right? >> had we not attacked in the north there that we talked about before where the refugees were, the kurdistan people the peshmerga could have said you abandoned us, we have people on the other side in syria -- >> are they cheering tonight? >> i think absolutely they are reassured. you listen to people talk there and social media they'll tell you they were concerned the americans weren't going to support across that border. they would have had to back up against mountains. they could have had a force there assisting with those refugees. they probably could have done more i think for that situation. >> did the united states have to
move a lot of assets into the region, in order to make this work, or has this been in the works for a long time and they've already been moved a long time ago? >> i think they've been in place but i do think in the last 48 hours this plan was well rehearsed and the fact we could keep it a secret, was very important, saudi military saudi forces, american as well, you got a nullit multiplier that i.. couldn't combat. >> how important is this coalition to a military situation? >> it's all important. when you don't think you have support but when you have support, you feel so much more empowered you feel so much more important about how you got to get this done for people back at home, those soldiers that are on the ground with the iraqi security forces and those pilots
they're going to want to know they have support. >> there are no quote boots on the ground but advisors on the ground and they're wearing boots. this is not an easy thing for them either, right? >> they are enduring a great hardship. they are in harm's way. >> like 1600 right? >> that's the number now. baghdad is still an important target for i.s.i.s. so they got to make sure that's protected. they are a large security force around baghdad to protect that, that would be a linchpin if that fell that would be a terrible setback. >> could this go on for years? >> it depends on how much will we have to go against them. that's what it comes down to. if we think this one strike or these couple of strikes are going to do anything, we will have to always go after the target. six months from now if a mid level commander is going against them we've got to get them.
>> on "america tonight." on the run. we have breaking news for you. "america tonight" and joeie chen will be with us in a few minutes, it's midnight on the east, 9am on the west. 7 am in syria, when u.s. and its allies are launching air strikes against i.s.i.l. the pentagon not releasing much information exact for the fact that a decision was made i don't recall today, they are using a mix of fighters, bombers, tomahawk cruise missiles in the attack. there's no word on where the u.s. and theie