26/11/2015 Newsnight


26/11/2015

Analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis. How feasible are air strikes in Syria? The programme talks to the Syrian opposition and Russia.


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Transcript


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and we're devoting our programme tonight to it.

:00:00.:00:00.

The debate over military action in Syria.

:00:07.:00:11.

We have to hit these terrorists in their heartland right now.

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The Prime Minister set out the case for war.

:00:17.:00:19.

The Commons also heard the case against.

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Enemies to the right of of us, enemies to the left of it!

:00:23.:00:27.

We'll hear from those who've recently fled

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Islamic State's hub, the city of Raqqa.

:00:33.:00:36.

And we'll ask, will military action work?

:00:37.:00:39.

There's talk of meltdown in the Labour Party over the issue.

:00:40.:00:45.

Diane Abbott will be with us to set out her view.

:00:46.:00:49.

And we meet this family escaping Syria to come to Scotland.

:00:50.:00:54.

Syria is enduring a civil war that has now run longer than World War I.

:00:55.:01:10.

The country had a population of 22 million before it started.

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It's now reported to be down to 16.5 million.

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Seven million of those who remain are internally displaced.

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more than a quarter of a million people.

:01:25.:01:27.

It was complicated enough before last year,

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when the self-styled Islamic State declared a caliphate

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and overran territory that covered much of Syria and Iraq,

:01:33.:01:36.

but there are now clearly bad guys on both sides of the conflict.

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And the issue is whether Britain should get more involved

:01:42.:01:43.

in the fight against one of them in Syria - Isil.

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The Prime Minister set out why we should,

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and MPs had the chance to raise their concerns,

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We'll take the time to set out the key issues,

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but let's start by hearing from Allegra Stratton

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It is a caution, but today, whether or not

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numbers. The concerns of MPs caution, but today, whether or not

:02:15.:02:18.

the Prime Minister to the house with a 7-point response. There

:02:19.:02:22.

the Prime Minister to the house with 7 points back from Jeremy Corbyn,

:02:23.:02:23.

five points from 7 points back from Jeremy Corbyn,

:02:24.:02:31.

number, the 324 MPs needed to win a vote in Parliament. Statement, the

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Prime Minister! The Prime Minister set out his strategy, the seven

:02:37.:02:40.

points addressed in turn, why, why ask, why now, the legal basis,

:02:41.:02:45.

allies on the ground, overall strategy, and the end goal. Gogol

:02:46.:02:52.

allies on the ground, overall do face a fundamental threat to our

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security, we have to hit the securities in

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security, we have to hit the now. And we must not shirk our

:02:59.:03:02.

responsibility for security or hand it to others. Mr Speaker, throughout

:03:03.:03:06.

our history the United Kingdom has stood up to defend our values and

:03:07.:03:12.

our way of life. We can and we must do so again. Jeremy Corbyn had his

:03:13.:03:18.

seven questions. He later wrote to MPs opposing action, but in the

:03:19.:03:22.

chamber his reluctance was on show. The question must now be when

:03:23.:03:26.

extending the UK bombing from Iraq to Syria is likely to reduce or

:03:27.:03:32.

increase that thread. And whether it will counter or spread the terror

:03:33.:03:35.

campaign Isil is waging in the Middle East. But this man is

:03:36.:03:39.

something of a weather vane - the chair of the committee that said the

:03:40.:03:43.

Prime Minister the seven tests, he said this. It is now my personal

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view that, on balance, the country would be best served by this house

:03:49.:03:54.

supporting his judgment that the United Kingdom should play a full

:03:55.:03:58.

role in the coalition. But what are the numbers? Two, the UN resolution

:03:59.:04:05.

which many think authorises action, including some sitting behind Jeremy

:04:06.:04:09.

Corbyn, at odds with their leader. Candy confirmed that it does not

:04:10.:04:16.

just permit all necessary steps to be taking? -- can he confirm. But it

:04:17.:04:21.

actually calls upon member states to take all necessary steps. 70,000 is

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the number of moderate Syrian opposition troops the Prime Minister

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said would do the heavy lifting. Many doubted this number. The

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suggestion that there are 70,000 none Islamist moderate, credible

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ground forces, I have to say, is a revelation to me, and I suspect most

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other members in this house. The Prime Minister has talked about

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70,000 Free Syrian Army troops, how many of those are in the north-east

:04:50.:04:51.

of Syria on the front line against Syrian regime forces? And the fate

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of one man, President Assad. As in 2013, any idea of his removal is

:05:03.:05:07.

highly contentious. Any agreement will have to involve unpleasant

:05:08.:05:10.

people being involved, and not just people who would naturally be our

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allies, and Assad and other people may have 2 be involved. How will he

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avoid giving support or appearing to give support to Assad forces and

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becoming dependent on Assad forces, and how will he avoid that giving

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succour to Isil in its recruitment in the region? This is a really

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unusual parliamentary moment. The Prime Minister told us today he will

:05:40.:05:42.

only bring a vote if he thinks he will win it. That takes a lot of the

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jeopardy out of the vote, he will only bring a vote to this place if

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he is said and he will not lose. So can he get to that 324 majority?

:05:54.:05:58.

Well, if you imagine there is about 15 Tory rebels, they are cancelled

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out by 15 Labour rebels coming over to support the Prime Minister. Add

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in the DUP and top up that number with a few more Labour supporters,

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and the Prime Minister this evening probably does have his numbers.

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Let's pick up on some of those themes, Allegra is with me.

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The debate is clearly within as well as across parties,

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which brings us to what can only be called turmoil

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Diggers through what happened today. There was a meeting of the Shadow

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Cabinet. We expect that Jeremy Corbyn and the Shadow Chancellor

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will decide they cannot vote. It is, but we understand from this meeting

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that the majority of the people who spoke did so in favour of strikes,

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so far so simple, except for the fact that also suggested was the

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idea that there want there to be an absolute whipped vote in favour of

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strikes. In favour of strikes, as opposed to what you have heard about

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so far, a whip to vote against strikes. They were really pushing

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it. My understanding is, firstly, as you suggest, this would be

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extraordinary, because we think this would be the first time in recent

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memory that you have got a leader and his Shadow Chancellor boating to

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defy a whip, so why would they say that? -- voting macro. There is

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electable and it, the view that you cannot be the opposition and have

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heard everything and not doing anything about it. There is the

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principle of it, people like Vernon Coaker, who just believe it. And

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then there are those were fed up with Jeremy Corbyn, it is understood

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that Tom Watson, the deputy leader, who would be right there in the

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middle. Critically, in terms of this question about a whipped vote,

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personally I do not think it is a goer. They have until Monday to

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decide, but I think it is a negotiating position, they really

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want a free vote, and if they push for the whipped vote, the compromise

:08:00.:08:00.

is something in the middle. Well, the Shadow International

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Development Secretary, Diane Abbott, is here with me to discuss

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Labour's position on Syria, but before we do, Jo Cox,

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another Labour MP, who actually spoke out

:08:07.:08:08.

in support of intervention in the Commons today,

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joins us via Skype. Just take us through your position

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on this as of now, Jo. Thanks, just to clarify, I am as yet and decided,

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but I thought today was an important step forward with the Prime

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Minister. -- undecided. The Prime Minister presented a compelling case

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of the threat that Isis bases as in Britain. It is three years to late,

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it should not have taken a humanitarian crisis of this scale

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for the attacks in Paris to do that, but I welcome the fact that he had a

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comprehensive strategy today. My outstanding concerns relate to just

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how much emphasis the Government will give to dealing with the

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brutality of Assad, which cannot be separated from any strategy to

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tackle the horror of Isis. If you come to the view that we should get

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involved, we should bomb, would you see that as the kind of you that you

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would divide a party whip on if that was necessary? I think this has to

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be a matter of conscience for all MPs, and speaking to many colleagues

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on all sides of the house today, I think many share that view. Yeah, I

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think all of us have to think first and foremost about how do we keep

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Britain safe, but secondly how do we ensure that we protect Syrians who,

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of course, are suffering untold horrors as we speak, and this crisis

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and our strategy has to be about a political transition in Syria that

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ultimately ends the conflict. Very briefly, it may be, I don't know,

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but in your constituency, your local members responsible for running your

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local party, they may take a different view and come to a

:10:00.:10:02.

different conclusion to you. Do you see it as important to listen to

:10:03.:10:08.

them autistic to your own view? I mean, I have been talking to party

:10:09.:10:13.

members about this issue for many, many months, and there is a

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divergent views among party members, as amongst the public. I

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feel that it is my responsibility to listen to that diversity of views,

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but ultimately take a view as to what I think we'll keep Britain safe

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from the threat of Isis. Thank you very much indeed. Diane Abbott,

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should Jo Cox vote with her conscience on this issue? I think

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what we should all do is look at what will make British people safe,

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first and foremost, as parliamentarians, that must be our

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concern, but on the Shadow Cabinet today, which I was actually at! I

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think it was a bit more balanced than the people who came out and

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briefed Allegra. We agree that we have to vote to keep Britain safe,

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we have to go back to our constituencies, talk to friends,

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families and party members. We have agreed to speak to constituents,

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friends, families and party members and come back on Monday and take a

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decision. But this notion of the Shadow Cabinet as some kind of

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workers' collective, which can decide the whipping, I have been in

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Parliament for 28 years, I have never heard that, that would be an

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innovation! Who decides which way it is whipped? You know as well as I

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do, the leader consults with colleagues and the whips' office,

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very important, but it is the leader, so how is the Shadow Cabinet

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going to decide that?! Does everybody agree on that? As far as I

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know, there is no president macro for the Shadow Cabinet trying to

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throw down their leader. -- precedent. The YouGov polls show

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that 70% of party members are against bombing. But it shows that

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59% of the public are in favour, so which should members listen to,

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membership of the party or the public out there? The point I am

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making is that there has been a lot of talk of split in the party, but

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the party members and Jeremy are united, the issue is with MPs. But

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aren't MPs responsible to voters? We are all responsible to the

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electorate, we all have a responsibility, as I said at the

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beginning, to keep the British people safe. I disagree with Jo, I

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do not think David Cameron has made the case. Who are the ground forces

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supposed to be? The real danger, and I do not think there is public

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support for this, as we will get drawn into a land war in Syria.

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There will have to be a free vote, won't there? Is it possible that the

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leader of the party can vote a different way to the foreign

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spokesman of the party, Hilary Benn, on an issue of going to war, and for

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both of them to stay in their posts? Many people will think it is not

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conceivable, Hilary Benn and Jeremy Corbyn to be imposed and vote on

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different sides on this. Many people think it is not conceivable that the

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Shadow Cabinet can decide the whipping. We will come together on

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Monday and arrive at a unified position in the interests of the

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British people. Jeremy Corbyn said today, we are going to come back on

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Monday, have a discussion and come to a collective view, but the view I

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have, and I will only accept, is that I will not vote for military

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action. That is not very polite, is it? He is showing leadership, making

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his position clear. When the Shadow Cabinet members said, what a

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surprise, no, he said it at the beginning of the meeting. You said

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earlier that this is a very unusual situation, I have been here two

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times before, when the drums of war are beating

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times before, when the drums of war there seems to be this irresistible

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pressure for British intervention. I have been here before, I never

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thought I would be here for a third time of asking. I do not believe

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that bombing without a time of asking. I do not believe

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diplomatic strategy, without troops on the ground will actually cut of

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the head of the snake that is Isis and bring peace to Syria.

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there have to be boots on the ground to complement any bombing,

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The Prime Minister says we can't wait

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for the politics to fall into place, we must take action now,

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but he agrees bombing won't work alone.

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But as we've said, the conflict is complicated -

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countries more and less friendly to us are involved,

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united in hating Isil, implacably opposed on the issue of Assad,

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or on the Kurds, or on Sunni-Shia tensions.

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Mark Urban is here to explain some of the intricacies.

:15:16.:15:53.

Most of Syria, it's the Assad army or one of the rebel groups.

:15:54.:16:15.

David Cameron today talked about 70,000 moderate rebels.

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Experts don't disagree wildly on the number,

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rather it's dozens of non-jihadist groups

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with politics from the fundamentalist to democrats,

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Foreign forces might play all sorts of roles,

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including sealing Turkey's border with Syria.

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Without foreign ground forces, pressure will be limited,

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Is there any cause for optimism on military action?

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Well, just recently there's actually been one important

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development, and that's the battle to hit Islamic State's finances

:17:11.:17:14.

by attacking its income from clandestine oil exports.

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The trade is carried by tanker trucks that sell oil and

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refined products to both the Syrian government and Turkish middlemen.

:17:25.:17:27.

Russia has recently launched air strikes

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So in recent days, the Americans have also been

:17:30.:17:35.

hitting the tanker convoys and oil markets,

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strafing and blowing up tankers in this footage.

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They've actually got rather competitive with the Russians,

:17:44.:17:45.

But Islamic State still has the options of taxing local people

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more heavily and raising more from sympathisers abroad.

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So what is the key, what are the keys to moving forward? You could go

:18:02.:18:14.

for an internationally negotiated deal leading to a UN resolution,

:18:15.:18:17.

international peacekeeping forces. You might call that

:18:18.:18:19.

the Bosnian model. regional consensus,

:18:20.:18:21.

simply isn't there. This week we've seen

:18:22.:18:30.

the sharp escalation of tension between two key players -

:18:31.:18:34.

Russia and Turkey. advanced long-range

:18:35.:18:36.

anti-aircraft missiles at its base in Syria

:18:37.:18:43.

that could be used to shoot down Turkish fighters if there was

:18:44.:18:47.

a repeat of Tuesday's incident. Although there has been some talk

:18:48.:19:05.

through the so-called Vienna progress, unless you can get Assad

:19:06.:19:09.

backed by Russia, the rebel groups backed by the Gulf states, Turkey,

:19:10.:19:13.

unless you can get them closer together, you know, there isn't

:19:14.:19:17.

going to be a meaningful change in the situation. We know Russia says

:19:18.:19:22.

it is hitting IS, but so many of the strikes have been against the

:19:23.:19:24.

moderates that David Cameron was talking about today, and frankly,

:19:25.:19:29.

unless you crack that central conundrum of Assad and the rebel

:19:30.:19:33.

groups, people will carry on supporting IS, and everything

:19:34.:19:37.

America does, and by extension Britain, will be peripheral to that

:19:38.:19:39.

central question. Thanks, Mark.

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Now in the Commons today, the intervention of one man

:19:43.:19:44.

was important. He is Crispin Blunt, chair of the

:19:45.:19:45.

Foreign Affairs Select Committee. His committee had written a report

:19:46.:19:48.

sceptical of military action, but Mr Blunt now says his

:19:49.:19:50.

reservations have been dealt with and he is in support,

:19:51.:19:53.

and he's here with us. Good evening to you. This sounds

:19:54.:20:03.

like a morass, you were sceptical, you said there had to be some kind

:20:04.:20:07.

of provisional political arrangement to provide boots on the ground, to

:20:08.:20:10.

provide something to fill the gap if you get rid of Isil. What has

:20:11.:20:17.

changed? What has satisfied you? Vienna has changed things. If you

:20:18.:20:20.

look at the conclusions of the Vienna meeting on the 14th of

:20:21.:20:25.

November, you can see the route to a transition process, and the

:20:26.:20:28.

significance of Vienna is that you have got all the key countries

:20:29.:20:32.

around the table, the Iranians and the Saudis, a process led by the

:20:33.:20:36.

Americans and the Russians. And the key elements to that agreement

:20:37.:20:39.

outlined the future type of state that Syria will be, it outlines the

:20:40.:20:44.

political process, the electoral process that will happen at the end

:20:45.:20:48.

of it, ensuring that Syrians who have been displaced are going to be

:20:49.:20:52.

part of the electorate. It outlines who will be supervising that

:20:53.:20:56.

process. Critically, amongst that, it commits the countries around the

:20:57.:21:00.

table, all of whom have different clients in this game, to bring their

:21:01.:21:04.

clients to the table. You can see the need for that. The Russians need

:21:05.:21:09.

an out, given what has happened in Turkey. I hear what you are saying,

:21:10.:21:12.

but the key thing the Prime Minister is saying is you have to have this

:21:13.:21:16.

all in place, but you cannot wait for that to be delivered, we have to

:21:17.:21:21.

shoot now, bomb now, fill all of that in later. And what we know is

:21:22.:21:25.

that the British contribution to air strikes in Syria is going to be

:21:26.:21:31.

marginal to all of this. The containment and the degrading of

:21:32.:21:34.

Isil within Syria is happening at the hands of the French, the

:21:35.:21:38.

Americans and the Russians. But why wouldn't we wait and see whether the

:21:39.:21:43.

politics fits into place? The question for the United Kingdom is

:21:44.:21:46.

whether it can be more influential on the politics as a full member of

:21:47.:21:52.

the coalition, or as a non-belligerent in Syria. That is

:21:53.:21:55.

the hypothesis, if we are a full part of the coalition, we will have

:21:56.:21:59.

more influence over that political process? That is one of the

:22:00.:22:05.

questions, and I would agree it is a marginal call. Having spoken to the

:22:06.:22:09.

Saudis, for example, and the MRI these in the course of the visit my

:22:10.:22:13.

committee has made in the last week, they are very keen that we should be

:22:14.:22:20.

in that coalition. -- the Emiratis. There is an element of our European

:22:21.:22:24.

and American allies saying, if you are not fully in this, we're not

:22:25.:22:28.

going to listen to what you have to say. There is also the zoo of

:22:29.:22:31.

solidarity with the French in the light of Paris, and our leaders feel

:22:32.:22:37.

that quite strongly. -- the issue. Since it is a marginal call, my

:22:38.:22:40.

belief is the House of Commons should give them the benefit of the

:22:41.:22:45.

doubt. Isil has got to be defeated, that is the bottom line. What

:22:46.:22:49.

happens if the judgment you are making that Vienna will lead to

:22:50.:22:53.

something does not happen, and other great morass, bombing people, a lot

:22:54.:22:58.

of enemies fighting around them? There are a lot of fundamental now

:22:59.:23:02.

widely Vienna process is going to produce something. The principal

:23:03.:23:05.

reason is that the Russians have now got themselves engaged, and they now

:23:06.:23:10.

need an out, otherwise they are going to be left in this... But

:23:11.:23:15.

there must be a risk that be and it doesn't lead anywhere, the risk of

:23:16.:23:18.

bombing first and waiting to see if it delivers. -- Vienna. The bombing

:23:19.:23:24.

is happening anyway, so the British role in the bombing is at the

:23:25.:23:28.

margins, there is a little bit of military utility for the Government

:23:29.:23:32.

to claim, which if it exists. If it is made too much of, it is an

:23:33.:23:37.

argument carrying too much weight, but there is some weight in that

:23:38.:23:41.

argument about the use of particular skills of the RAF and the Brimstone

:23:42.:23:46.

missile and intelligence acquisition kits they have got as part of the

:23:47.:23:49.

coalition. But the principle is you is about how Britain can be taken

:23:50.:23:54.

most seriously as a member of the coalition. -- the principal issue.

:23:55.:23:59.

One last one, we heard today of the 70,000 non-jihadi fighters, Free

:24:00.:24:06.

Syrian Army fighters. Could you name the leader of that group of

:24:07.:24:10.

fighters? Voice who do we phone? It is the current president of the

:24:11.:24:15.

Syrian National Coalition, that is the political body. So of one of

:24:16.:24:20.

them is breaking the Geneva Convention, we call him and say, can

:24:21.:24:24.

you deal with it? There is a process going on next week as the Saudis are

:24:25.:24:28.

holding a meeting of all the Syrian opposition groups to try to create a

:24:29.:24:32.

representative body for all these Syrian opposition groups and entered

:24:33.:24:36.

these talks with the Syrian government. That is actually another

:24:37.:24:41.

important part of the process, it shows that the political transition

:24:42.:24:46.

is active, there is a plan, and you can see a route to it because

:24:47.:24:50.

everybody's interests are in getting this done. If I can see the route

:24:51.:24:55.

and the Prime Minister can see the route, and he took a lot of time to

:24:56.:24:59.

answer my committee's questions, then my judgment is we need to give

:25:00.:25:02.

him the benefit of the doubt, because this is the bottom line - we

:25:03.:25:07.

have to take control of the territory from Isil. We are going to

:25:08.:25:11.

discuss this with some people who have local views if they agree.

:25:12.:25:13.

Crispin Blunt, thank you. We hate to call the city of Raqqa

:25:14.:25:16.

in Syria the capital of the Islamic State,

:25:17.:25:18.

as IS is not a state. by talking to those

:25:19.:25:26.

who've managed to get out. Raqqa has been one of the main

:25:27.:25:32.

targets of coalition air strikes. The city is touted by Isis

:25:33.:25:40.

as the almost Utopian capital Tonight, though, we speak to

:25:41.:25:44.

refugees who fled the city who say At first people thought that Isis

:25:45.:25:49.

was their saviour, but within a month

:25:50.:25:56.

everything changed. You can see a beheaded corpse

:25:57.:25:59.

at every other street corner. The eastern city, believed to have

:26:00.:26:04.

a population of around 400,000, was the first provincial capital

:26:05.:26:07.

to fall to initially moderate rebel forces before Isis took it over

:26:08.:26:13.

from them in late 2013. They turned the city's landmarks

:26:14.:26:19.

into symbols of brutality. The once bustling plaza

:26:20.:26:22.

around the clock tower is now Roundabouts are at times filled

:26:23.:26:25.

with the decapitated heads of opponents, and churches

:26:26.:26:32.

like this one have been taken over. The city has also been pounded

:26:33.:26:37.

by air strikes by Assad, by the western-led coalition,

:26:38.:26:41.

and most recently by the Russians. Refugees who fled the city

:26:42.:26:46.

in the last few weeks sent us videos

:26:47.:26:48.

describing their experiences. They have had to hide

:26:49.:26:51.

their identities. whereas the Russians

:26:52.:26:55.

mainly targeted civilians. Isis hide in underground shelters

:26:56.:27:01.

with their families. A few went to places like Palmyra,

:27:02.:27:11.

but others stayed in Raqqa. Isis have trumpeted their medical

:27:12.:27:17.

and education facilities, but the refugees say Isis isn't even

:27:18.:27:19.

providing them with the basics. Electricity and water were

:27:20.:27:28.

only available two hours a day But once Isis took control, we only

:27:29.:27:37.

got half an hour of electricity a day and water every

:27:38.:27:41.

couple of days. Food is really expensive and you

:27:42.:27:43.

have to wait at the bakery all day just to get

:27:44.:27:46.

a loaf of bread. Isis control large parts of

:27:47.:27:48.

the east of Syria around Raqqa, but Kurdish and moderate Syrian rebels

:27:49.:27:54.

have been advancing in the north, They now control Ain Issa,

:27:55.:27:56.

30 miles north of Raqqa, and there are rumours

:27:57.:28:04.

of an assault on Raqqa. But Kurdish forces have been accused

:28:05.:28:07.

of atrocities against local Arabs and are unlikely to be welcomed

:28:08.:28:11.

in the city. We're between a rock

:28:12.:28:16.

and a hard place. they've stepped up their control

:28:17.:28:21.

of the city. We were told it is now much

:28:22.:28:26.

harder to leave Raqqa and hardly anyone

:28:27.:28:29.

can use the internet. How Isis rule their capital

:28:30.:28:32.

could prove their undoing, but no-one knows

:28:33.:28:35.

who will replace them. So how might life there advance

:28:36.:29:05.

if Isil were displaced? the Chief of Staff to the President

:29:06.:29:07.

of the Syrian Opposition Council, from Moscow, Katya Mavrenkova,

:29:08.:29:12.

an editor at Russia Today. And here in the studio

:29:13.:29:14.

is Hassan Hassan, author of Isis:

:29:15.:29:16.

Inside the Army of Terror. First of all, what is your view

:29:17.:29:23.

about the decision Britain is making? Well, there is a special

:29:24.:29:30.

importance for a British role in Syria, because the UK supports the

:29:31.:29:36.

struggle for freedom and democracy. That is why the Syrian people, I

:29:37.:29:42.

think that they will welcome British involvement in Syria. Catania, how

:29:43.:29:50.

about you? Well, if you expect me to speak on behalf of of the

:29:51.:29:56.

government, they have made it clear they would welcome for efforts to

:29:57.:30:00.

fight Isil, whether it would be the US, the UK, and the Russian

:30:01.:30:04.

government has been calling for a grand coalition to fight against

:30:05.:30:11.

Isis. OK, agreement there, Hassan, are you in favour? I think the UK

:30:12.:30:17.

should be involved in the campaign, firstly because it helps the UK to

:30:18.:30:21.

be more involved on the ground, and that helps in practical things like

:30:22.:30:25.

gathering intelligence, but also to be involved, be part of, you know,

:30:26.:30:35.

any solution, any political solution to the conflict. So you all agree

:30:36.:30:49.

that we should get involved. Do you think if that meant Assad staying in

:30:50.:30:54.

power for a few extra months you would be happy with that? If Assad

:30:55.:31:00.

stays in power, no problem in Syria would be solved. The war will

:31:01.:31:05.

continue. Assad is actually the start of this problem, that he waged

:31:06.:31:10.

a war against the people and he continues with that war until now.

:31:11.:31:17.

Assad also is buying oil from Isis, helping the finance of Isis.

:31:18.:31:25.

Yesterday the US Treasury department made sanctions against some of the

:31:26.:31:36.

regime figures that they are financing Isis by buying oil from

:31:37.:31:42.

them. Assad is a major cause of the humanitarian problem in Syria, as

:31:43.:31:47.

well as the rise and expansion of Isis. The Syrian people themselves,

:31:48.:31:51.

they cannot fight Isis. They are the boots on the ground actually. They

:31:52.:31:58.

cannotifies Isis effectively unless they protect themselves and they are

:31:59.:32:01.

also protected from the Assad bombing against them. OK, so let me

:32:02.:32:06.

interrupt there. Assad has to go. You think Assad has to go. What

:32:07.:32:12.

about Russia, Katia. Is Russia going to be able to sit down with Monze,

:32:13.:32:18.

are and come to some kind of agreement, or not, on what you have

:32:19.:32:21.

just heard? Before answering that question I would like to go back

:32:22.:32:26.

briefly to your previous question. As I said, Russia would welcome

:32:27.:32:29.

joining efforts with anyone who would like to fight against Isis.

:32:30.:32:35.

Although Roisin assists that bombing other countries like, say, Syria and

:32:36.:32:39.

Iraq should only be happening with the permission of the Government in

:32:40.:32:44.

those countries. As you know, Russia is carrying out its campaign in

:32:45.:32:50.

Syria after the invitation of the legitimate Syrian Government, Bashar

:32:51.:32:54.

al-Assad, whereas the US is doing it without the permission of the

:32:55.:32:59.

Government whatsoever. They would welcome only if they got an

:33:00.:33:02.

agreement from the Syrian Government. As for Bashar al-Assad

:33:03.:33:06.

staying in power, in contrast to what the West has been accusing

:33:07.:33:10.

Russia of, supporting President Assad and trying to keep him in

:33:11.:33:14.

power, Russia has been saying all along that it is not Russia's goal

:33:15.:33:18.

to keep Bashar al-Assad in power. Russia has been saying it is up to

:33:19.:33:22.

the Syrians to decide their own future. Like the previous speaker

:33:23.:33:28.

was saying, there is a fight against Isis currently going on in Syria.

:33:29.:33:33.

Just like President Putin said, combining efforts with those forces

:33:34.:33:37.

who are fighting Isis on the ground is key to all those coalition

:33:38.:33:41.

efforts. Right, everybody agrees, combining the forces is very

:33:42.:33:45.

important, but it is whether you can agree on the terms on which you are

:33:46.:33:51.

going to do it. Hassan, do you think the Vienna process can get these two

:33:52.:33:55.

to agree enough that we get a joint Army, if you like? I don't think so,

:33:56.:34:02.

and I think the disproportional focus on the Vienna talks and a

:34:03.:34:06.

political process to deal with this situation in Damascus is in many

:34:07.:34:12.

ways a waste of time. Because we are wasting so many opportunities of

:34:13.:34:17.

doing things on the ground elsewhere in the country that could engineer a

:34:18.:34:20.

situation... Sorry, who on the ground? Who is going to do it on the

:34:21.:34:26.

ground if it is not the Syrian Government Army and the Free Syrian

:34:27.:34:37.

Army? There are plenty of opportunities. I had a Skype call

:34:38.:34:44.

with one of the commanders who was driven out of eastern Syria because

:34:45.:34:49.

of Isis. Instead of going to hang out in Turkey or go as refugees

:34:50.:34:53.

elsewhere outside the country, what are they doing now? They are

:34:54.:34:58.

fighting Isis on the front lines in it lip, Aleppo and southern Syria.

:34:59.:35:02.

These are the forces that you can work with. There are plenty of those

:35:03.:35:07.

forces. OK, that's a different plan from the one Crispin Blunt was

:35:08.:35:14.

telling us about. Monze, are, this conflict seemed to have been dogged

:35:15.:35:17.

by the fact that there hasn't been agreement on who is the worst. Who

:35:18.:35:24.

is the worst enemy for you, Assad or ice is? They are both committing

:35:25.:35:30.

crimes against humanity. They are both committing war crimes. And they

:35:31.:35:36.

are both killing the Syrian people and oppressing the Syrian people

:35:37.:35:40.

every day. So for the Syrians they are both the enemies and think have

:35:41.:35:46.

to be destroyed for the Syrian people. But the biggest fight the

:35:47.:35:51.

Syrian people are having now is with Assad. Assad is attacking

:35:52.:35:54.

everywhere, bombing the cities, bombing the villages. They are the

:35:55.:36:01.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard and militia are helping on the ground.

:36:02.:36:05.

The Russians are helping. By the way the Russians are not bombing Isis

:36:06.:36:11.

but the moderate rebels. They are helping Assad. So this war, the war

:36:12.:36:18.

that Assad is waging against the people is very oppressive on the

:36:19.:36:21.

people much more than what Isis is doing. As for the enemies, they are

:36:22.:36:28.

both enemies and they have to go. I'm so sorry, I'm afraid we are out

:36:29.:36:32.

of time. I thank you all very much indeed. We are going to see how

:36:33.:36:37.

complicated it is to get political agreement.

:36:38.:36:39.

We've heard a lot of argument this evening.

:36:40.:36:41.

But a reminder now of how the consequences of the suffering

:36:42.:36:44.

A second charter plane full of vulnerable refugees

:36:45.:36:47.

arrived today, this time in Newcastle.

:36:48.:36:49.

David Cameron has offered 20,000 places over the next five years -

:36:50.:36:52.

we are still early in the process of taking people in.

:36:53.:36:54.

You may or may not know that Newsnight is following the fortunes

:36:55.:36:57.

Katie Razzall went to Jordan to meet one of the families who

:36:58.:37:01.

reached Newcastle today, and she's also caught up with another family

:37:02.:37:04.

It's their first week in a strange many places to visit. New tastes,

:37:05.:37:32.

new smells. For a family who fled Syria for Jordan and now have a new

:37:33.:37:40.

home in Scotland. Tar-tan. Tartan. Having first met the family as they

:37:41.:37:45.

prepared to leave Jordan, 000 they are on British soil, and here on the

:37:46.:37:49.

Scottish streets what little English they know is being tested. Is it a

:37:50.:38:03.

relief to be here? For now to protect them the Scottish council is

:38:04.:38:07.

supporting the family won't let us film them at home. So we took them

:38:08.:38:17.

on their first day trip to Glasgow. They want to record everything. A

:38:18.:38:22.

family all too aware of their luck. Deemed vulnerable enough for

:38:23.:38:27.

resettlement by UNHCR, Britain offered refuge.

:38:28.:38:52.

Nourallah needs a jaw operation. It was shadow nerd a rocket attack on

:38:53.:39:00.

their Syrian home. Laith and Bayhas are his nephews. Their father died

:39:01.:39:08.

in Syria. This family's life won't begin properly until residency

:39:09.:39:12.

papers come through. Then school, doctors appointments and language

:39:13.:39:18.

classes will begin. What did you learn? Ship... Monkey. Crocodile.

:39:19.:39:25.

But even a good day is tingeed with sadness. It is complicated but her

:39:26.:39:30.

first children by her first marriage are stuck in Syria.

:39:31.:39:43.

We took the family to a Glasgow institution, the ubiquitous

:39:44.:39:51.

restaurant for Scottish fare, in line with their religious

:39:52.:39:54.

traditions. Vegetarian haggis there. When you first arrived here, what

:39:55.:40:05.

struck you? How does it compare with your old home in Jordan? Even in the

:40:06.:40:19.

safety of the UK, the adult don't want to talk about Syrian politics,

:40:20.:40:24.

about air strikes or regime change. Fearful for relatives still in

:40:25.:40:28.

Syria. But I wanted to know how the Paris attacks and changing attitudes

:40:29.:40:32.

to refugees affected them as they left Jordan.

:40:33.:41:04.

When we spoke in Amman, I remember you said to me, probably you

:41:05.:41:11.

wouldn't be able to go back to Syria and that Britain would be your new

:41:12.:41:15.

home. First impressions, it is early days, but do you still feel that

:41:16.:41:20.

this is a place you'll be able to call home now you're here?

:41:21.:41:38.

Many Syrian refugees don't want to leave the Middle East. But five

:41:39.:41:43.

years of war means resettlement is their only option. Like another

:41:44.:41:48.

Syrian family, I met in Jordan, who arrived in the UK today. Marwan, the

:41:49.:42:00.

head of the household, showed me around their Jordanian home. They

:42:01.:42:12.

had so little, no money for medicine for Marwan's health problems, or to

:42:13.:42:18.

pay for school. Goodbye... Goodbye. One boy... One boy. Nour is eight,

:42:19.:42:28.

his sister is partially deaf, and she is 16. The boys, Omar and

:42:29.:42:33.

Mohammed, they fled their home west of Damascus more than two years ago.

:42:34.:43:23.

Despite it all, until recently they still believed they would go home.

:43:24.:43:57.

They may never see Syria again. But as they left Jordan for Newcastle

:43:58.:44:03.

this morning there was optimism too for a better future. We hope to meet

:44:04.:44:08.

them again soon as they begin their new life. We will be staying in

:44:09.:44:19.

touch with the families. Emily will be in the chair tomorrow, Black

:44:20.:44:21.

Friday. Have a very good night. Good evening. After a mild day on

:44:22.:44:35.

Thursday, Friday brings us a transition to much cooler conditions

:44:36.:44:38.

from the north-west. We've got this active cold front pushing in

:44:39.:44:41.

initially across Northern

:44:42.:44:42.

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis. In a special programme on Syria, how feasible are air strikes? The programme talks to the Syrian Opposition and Russia. Plus a crisis in the Labour Party, and Diane Abbott is in the studio.


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