bringing the classroom to children in nigeria a world news for you with a breaking story out of turkey. there has been an explosion in the turkish city of space pacise tan bull. -- istanbul. no information on the cause of the explosion. what do we think happened here? >> the information is very, very sketchy at this point. we don't know the cause of the explosion. we understand that from eyewitnesses it was quite a powerful explosion. nobody has commented yet on the reason or the cause of it.
it took place in front of a building which is behind a mosque. we understand there are some injuries. we don't know if anybody has lost their life yet. ambulances and fire engines have rushed to the scene. i'm 2 kilometers from the scene and i can hear the sirens from here. the blast was heard from other neighborhoods. that's the information we have right now we're looking at the very latest pictures coming to us here from istanbul. the area is, obviously, now in a state of lockdown. we're seeing as well this area is popular with tourists. paint a picture for me what is the area like and what is it known for?
>> i think this supermarket is the center of the city's historic center, if you like. it is really the main square in the city of the historic center. it is near a mosque. at this time this would not have been the most crowded time of the day as it took place at 10.15 local time. it gets going a bit later than that. so it is not exactly the biggest time of the day. having said that, it's not from the grand bizarre and it is on a pedestrian walking trail. if you're visiting the city, this would be your first stop. it is also where a lot of, obviously, tourists in the city
are all staying we're talking about the grand bizarre, the mosque of istanbul, fantastic architecture as well. so we're talking about an area where people are on their winter break. >> yes. i think, for example, this square in july or august, it is normally the square to have thousands of people around it in the months of summer, but it is not the peak tourism time as we speak, but if it were, this would have been, yes, exactly where you would get off on your first, say, hours in istanbul, between the blue mosque and the
other mosque we should, of course, be very careful about separating out what we know from what we think we know when something like this happens, but would somebody be able to target the mosque? we're talking about it being very close to the mosque, although we don't know how close. >> well, the information that we have right now suggests that the blast was nearest to the area called the hippodrome. it is a part of the area which has a rectangular square where you've got a fountain and these are adjacent to the blue mosque and a few hundred metres from the other mosque. the blast was not inside the blue mosque. it was not far from it.
i would say metres away is there any obvious security presence on the streets offise tan bull - istanbul, this is how we do things now because mosques are, in some senses, attractive to people who may want to do bad things or, indeed, people who just want to look at the building. is this something that the turkish government is aware of, that there is a potential risk on the streets given what happened in paris on november 13? >> i think there has been living in the city you clearly see heavier police presence outside these, but i myself have not seen any increased security measures outside the mosque how geared up are authorities to deal with this kind of thing? >> i think they are quite
prepared, at least around certain sites, following the attacks in ankara and a lot of loss of life. they're better prepared than ethis were at the beginning of summer thank you for that. when you have anything further, do come become and talk to us here on al jazeera >> thank you more from turkey. the u.n. humanitarian chief says 4000 people must be brought out of the syrian town of madaya for life-saving treatment. under a deal with the government an aid convoy arrived in madaya from damascus from monday. troops are surrounding the places but there are many other
areas not included in the deal. in eastern ghouta 1 of 0 thousand people are need in help. another 9,000 have been trapped in two other kins. 200,000 people have been cut out of in dei spashgs azor. >> reporter: trucks carrying food and medicine finally arrive in madaya. a town of more than 40,000 people where they have been eating their pets and after that survived on a diet of soup made from grass. >> translation: we witnessed a lot and suffered a lot. people killed cats to eat them. people eight grass. we - ate grass. we need to break the siege. >> reporter: it is reported that as many as 28 people have starved to death. the syrian am was do dor
disputed this >> the situation concerning the humanitarian situation in madaya is based on false notion. >> reporter: we have seen reports of deaths in the last few hours, we've seen pictures of starving people's. are they fabrication? >> yes, indeed. >> reporter: so mass starvation issued by the united nations and other humanitarian agencies and these deeply disturbing pictures of the town's population, including children suffering from malnutrition, are, he claims, fake. but me also seemed to have a different second explanation. >> the terrorists are stealing the humanitarian assistance from the syrian red crescent as well as from the united nations and they are keeping this in their warehouses and then they use it as a leverage of political and financial gain for them. >> reporter: the u.s. ambassador sam an that power told the u.n. general assembly she had no
doubt when was to blame. >> look at the grotesque starve or surrender tactics that the syrian regime is using right now against its own people. look at the haunting pictures of civilians, including children, even babies, in madaya, syria. these are just the pictures we see. there are hundreds of thousands of people being deliberately besieged, deliberately starved right now and these images remind us of world war ii. >> reporter: but on the ground in madaya one woman seemed to back the syrian ambassador's explanation. >> translation: the situation in madaya is so bad, before the siege we used to have a good life. the armed rebels entered and they now have revealed their true colours. in the beginning they were deceived. it is clear now that they are nothing about traders of people's blood >> reporter: getting to the truth in the turmoil of syria's
long war is very difficult. the camera crew who filmed these pictures were operating under syrian government media guidelines. >> reporter: it is a country where it is difficult to speak freely and where basic humanitarian needs, getting access to food, is being used as a weapon of war. the u.n. says it needs the urgent evacuation of 400 people from madaya who need life-saving treatment staying with that story, president putin has been talking about syria, saying they must begin on a new constitution as the first step to ending the conflict. he said finding a peaceful solution will be more difficult in saudi arabia's current diplomatic standoff with iran. putin disputed fur comments that
he against further troops. to the heart of the story. a quite combative putin. no inclination on his part to back down. >> reporter: no. this is a further interview that has built as chosen to publish in two different parts. the first part was published on monday, the second part published today. it covers a wide range of topics, not just, of course, talking about things in ukraine, relationships that russia had with the west and various international institutions, nato and the g8, but regard what he was saying about syria, he basically takes the position that is counter to the suggestion given in those
package that we've seen, he says that it is not targeting its own population, that bashar al-assad is only fighting against groups that have been fighting against them. he did give a mild rebuke to president bashar al-assad saying that there have been errors, and he doesn't say what they are, but he didn't say he wrote give up support. he did say about a need for a new constitution in syria and also the need for elections, but when asked about whether it was possible that if bashar al-assad lost those elections whether it would give bashar al-assad any kind of political asylum he says it was not clear if he would
lose, and it is too soon to understand whether that would happen taking you back to that breaking story that took place just as we came on air this hour. the explosion in istanbul. we have the very latest pictures. that central square near the mosque has been sealed off after that large explosion. it is a very historic area. the news agency is reporting several people have been injured. as we were hearing from our correspondent, there are ambulances on their way to the scene as we speak. it is a major tourist area in istanbul. it is a populos city. the cause of the explosion is not yet known. it is close to a park that is
home to a landmark that people visit. a senior scholar and columnist is with us. we don't know for sure, but what do you think is going on there today? >> not really. i mean, i'm at home and working and i heard an explosion and i'm 4 kilometers away from this area in the north part of the city. it was understandable because it looked a lot like lightning. the weather is very clear in the country now and i didn't understand. of course, on the timeline the news came in and this is the major tourist area of the town,
with the blue mosque, and it's crowded with tourists all the time during the year. what i can say is that there are two rumors. one is that - witness has seen a street side bomber and a human bomb, and a witness, it is reported by the newspaper, already 10 people dead. there is a ring of ambulances coming and going and so far we don't know more than this. the police have sealed the area. unfortunately, what i can say in one word is that islamic terror may be arrived in the country islamic terror you say, which particular strand of that are you referring to?
>> reporter: turkish intelligence agencies have been announcing for months that among the d.a.e.s.h. and i.s.i.l. fighters there are turks. we also know that those who were coming and going through turkey, now it is not the case any more. at least we hope not, but turkey is a very vulnerable country in terms of islamic terror if turks are in that mix, but we don't know whether that witness report about suicide bomber is accurate, about the 10 people dead, but if there are turks in that mix, why are they in the mix and what do they want
to achieve by doing something like what we're seeing at the moment if, indeed, that is what we are seeing? >> reporter: this is a clear target. the target is very meaningful. as we both pointed, this is a major tourist area. it's not any places in town. it is a huge town. as you know, but why there? it is clearly a message to the tourists and so i mean this is exactly like in paris. it was an area where people used to go out and have fun, et cetera. so this is - i think it's not the choice of innocent we're looking at the very latest pictures. we're looking at a scene of chaos, we're seeing people being take out of ambulances. there is obviously a camera crew at the nearest big hospital that
can cope with this. the area is sealed off. is there an assumption, do you think, on the part of the police or the government that there might be a second blast? >> reporter: we don't know. it's perfectly possible. i don't know what the law enforcement officers are doing right away, but i can sure you that it is widespread panic and people are in deep stress, of course, and are shocked is this area that we're discussing, in effect, a soft target? >> reporter: it's a very soft target because the area is pedestrian, of course. only tourists, buses can get in, but usually people walk there and it is forbidden to usual town traffic. so yes, it is a soft target, yes do the people of istanbul
feel unsafe? we were hearing from our correspondent in the city, he was making the point that there was increased city around obvious targets, police stations, government buildings, the tax office. would there or should there have been increased security in an area like this because we're all aware of p if you see somebody carrying a backpack and it just looks incongruous. >> reporter: absolutely. i think you have a point here. we never had, you know, a very clear warning for law enforcement officers. people are extremely on the edge and very nervous since the big blast in ankara, you remember, in october. that was a big shock because it's the first time that such a
big suicide attack was happening in turkey turkey since 1923, since the creation of the public. so yes, it makes people extremely nervous, but every day life, what is going on. now, with this blast i wonder what will happen it's no so long when you talk about what will happen, the consequences may be obviously we will get a speech, we will get comments from the prime minister. it's not so very long ago, however, since you had elections in your country which refreshed the government, in effect, because that was what happened. i'm interested to know if people feel as safe as they might do with more of the same when it comes to the people that run the country. >> reporter: well, as you
recall, they went to the polls on 7 june last year to elect a new parliament. unfortunately, the ruling party, the justice and people were not happy with the results. turkey went, just after a few months, for snap election, out of which the ruling party has retaken control of government. one of the key intention of the government was without us you can't have stability in this country. so here we are. it's not that because you have
any government that you will restaebl stability this took place at about 10 local time. we are now seeing the ambulances back at the hospital. when you first became aware of this, you're 4 kilometers away. that's a good distance and you still heard the blast. >> reporter: yes. now there are pictures coming out of the blast and it's a huge blast, really, and i can - on my timeline, the news that at least five people dead in the reports.
it's a major, major development, yes thank you for joining us here on al jazeera. we appreciate your reporting of the story for us and also your insight. we will talk to you again soon. it is impossible to know what precisely what happened here, but just take us through what we think the timeline of events. >> i understand that a powerful blast off at the square at 10.20 local time this morning following the blast, quite a heavy security ring has been established outside the square with a lot of police and security personnel present. we understand that the blast was
centred around the hippodrome. it's adjacent to the blue mosque. it's 200 metres, perhaps, of another mosque and another kilometer and half from the grand bizarre. we're hearing the casualties, some injured. unconfirmed reports of deaths. the blast was so powerful it was heard from neighborhoods adjacent to the area. people would have been in the area enjoying the sites, which
is one of three popular sites of the city the proceeding speaker said that he had heard there were ten people dead and there was one witness was quoted as saying they had seen what looked like a suicide bomber. reuters is saying eight people have been killed. turkey television is saying eight people have been killed as well. as is always the way with these things, that death toll very proppedly will climb. >> reporter: it could climb. i am now about a kilometer away and i can see a lot of heavy police presence. i cannot talk about the number
of deaths. authorities have not made an announcement how close are you to the scene and just explain to me, paint a picture for us what you're seeing and what you're hearing. >> reporter: i am in the neighborhood which leads off the area and i'm making my way through the scene. it is a kilometer away from the scene, but we are in the city's european side, not far from the main railway station on the european side the security forces seemed to have actioned their response
very quickly and very efficiently. >> reporter: i think turkey - with we living in isfanbur are on a heightened sense of security. there is relatively large police station, as you imagine, on the square. it's lunchtime where you are, so the news will still be trickling out to the inhabitants to the people because they were doing their normal everyday things.
>> reporter: they were. the taxi driver that just dropped me off said he was very angry, very upset. he said that he couldn't believe what had just happened. this is as far as i can take you, he said, you will have to walk the rest. yes, the timing in the day of this blast could have been worse. this is a square that really gets quite packed from 12. the blast could have taken out more i notice as well that the local state-run television network, trt, and i'm directly quoting from that, saying that the blast is likely to have been caused by a suicide bomber.
we've got those unconfirm ed deaths and at least eight people dead, another report saying ten people dead. does this take the security threat in turkey in a much more dangerous sinister direction? >> reporter: even among our our friends and our own family and friends, nobody wanted to go out, people were cautioned not to be around squares. people were urged after the suicide attack not to use certain systems. many decided not to go out. it is having an impact on daily life in istanbul without a