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Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane; Russia Denies Plane was in Turkish Airspace; Possible Suicide Vest Found in Paris Suburb; Pope Francis to Visit Africa Amid Tight Security; Zlatan Ibrahimovic Speaks about Paris Attacks; Hollande and Obama Meeting at White House; Belgian Mother of ISIS Fighter in Grief. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 24, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone, and welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
Now we start with Russia's blistering response to the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey. Vladimir Putin says the incident will have serious
consequences for the future relations between the two countries. Here's more of what the Russian president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (voice-over): Today's loss for us was a stab in the back from terrorist accomplices. I cannot describe it in any
other way. Our jet was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to- air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell on the territory of Syria four kilometers from the Turkish border.
CURNOW (voice-over): Turkey says the plane crossed into its airspace and was warned 10 times to go back. Russia's defense ministry insists it never
entered Turkey, as you heard also President Putin saying there.
Now, a Russian news agency reports the two pilots ejected before the crash and rebel commanders on the ground tell CNN they found one pilot dead. CNN
cannot independently confirm that.
And Turkey's semi-official news agency released a flight data map that says it proves the Russian plane strayed into Turkey. The red line crossing
through the blue borders is said to be the flight path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, NATO is in contact with Turkish officials and has called an extraordinary meeting for later today to discuss the downing. Ivan Watson
joins me now. And Ivan was previously in our Istanbul bureau and is following the story closely from Paris where, of course, he's been
reporting on those attacks there.
This incident really complicates an already volatile situation?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, first of all, it's important to note that this stretch of border, the long
border that Turkey shares with Syria, has already seen, since the start of the Syrian civil war, a number of deadly incidents, where you had Turkish
and Syrian military units exchanging artillery fire across the border at period times of tension.
You've had Syrian military aircraft and Turkish military aircraft shot down over this border and now, suddenly, this incident where you have Turkish F-
16s that have shot down a Syrian -- sorry, a Russian SU24 military warplane over that stretch of border. Both the Russians and Turks giving
conflicting narratives about whether or not the Russian warplane had crossed into Turkish airspace.
On top of that you have Syrian rebels backed by Turkey that have told CNN that they opened fire with their machine guns on the Russian pilots as they
were parachuting down, after their warplane had been shot down.
And this has led to a rupture in relations between Ankara and Moscow, with now the Russian foreign minister cancelling a trip to Turkey and now
reportedly advising Russians not to travel to Turkey for tourism and the Turks standing by their ground, saying that they are free to use all
measures to defend their airspace.
And they've also called for an emergency session of NATO to discuss this very serious incident.
CURNOW: Dangerous in terms of the political implications. We've seen the very dramatic images you are talking of this plane going down.
So the question is how everybody acts now, the response and whether it's as cool-headed as the E.U. president has just called for.
Could this tension be tempered if Turkey helped to get these pilots back, whether they're dead or alive?
What kind of leverage does Turkey have in that region with those groups in terms of trying to bring those guys back?
WATSON: The rebel groups that operate in this area of Syria near the Turkish border do not include ISIS, the group that is the target of an
international coalition that includes both the U.S. and Russia. These are rebels that have close ties to Turkey, rebels that were being bombed,
according to many accounts, by Russian warplanes since Russia intervened into this part of the Syrian conflict.
Those were actions that had been denounced by the Turkish government and been denounced when it appeared that Russian warplanes had allegedly bombed
ethnic Turkmen communities in Northern Syria. That's an ethnic group that the Turks view as kind of close cousins of the Turkish people.
WATSON: Turkey had previously come out objecting to previous allegations of Russian infringement into Turkish airspace as early as October 5th.
There had been an extraordinary session, a meeting of NATO partners that had protested and condemned earlier Russian incursions into Turkish
So this has all blown up into this situation right now; the rebels have published video, Robyn, that appears to show a dead man in military
uniform, in what appears to be flight gear, where they identify that person to be a Russian pilot. We cannot independently confirm it until now --
CURNOW: So the question is, Ivan, what does Turkey want now from NATO?
WATSON: In all of the previous situations where there had been these deadly border incidents, usually involving the Syrian government, the Turks
have been very quick to summon their NATO allies to gather with them.
That is one of the articles within the NATO Convention. They are allowed to gather emergency meetings of all their allies to discuss this.
This is something that the Russian president was very critical of in his speech at a meeting with the king of Jordan recently. The Russian
president went on to say that this was effectively a stab in the back for what he described as the accomplices of terrorists.
That is strong rhetoric. That is strong criticism and all the more surprising because Turkey and Russia have traditionally been very close
economic partners. It was just last September that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Moscow to participate in the inauguration
of a new mosque there.
The Russian president has warned that this will have long-term consequences on Turkish and Russian relations -- Robyn;
CURNOW: Indeed, President Putin saying also Turkey immediately contacted, approached NATO allies to discuss this incident as if it was us who downed
a Turkish jet, not vice versa.
Do they want to put NATO in the service of ISIL?
Again, more strong words from Putin. So I think let's just see how this all unfolds in the coming hours.
Ivan Watson, thanks so much. All your expertise on that region, particularly around Turkey, very much valued. Thank you.
Well, as Ivan just mentioned, we are waiting for two key meetings to begin. In about an hour, NATO will hold that emergency meeting in Brussels on
Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane.
And also in just a few minutes, French president Francois Hollande will sit down with U.S. President Obama at the White House. That's him arriving in
Washington just a little bit earlier.
Mr. Hollande is trying to win the support for the war games to ISIS in the aftermath of those Paris terror attacks. The two presidents will hold a
joint news conference in about an hour and a half and, of course, we'll bring that to you live right here on CNN.
Well, let's some more insight now on the potential impact of Turkey's downing of that Russian airplane.
What does it all mean?
I want to bring in CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd from our Washington bureau for that. He was formerly with the CIA.
Phil, thanks so much for being with us.
So, even with all their warnings, this was a very radical move from Turkey to make.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think it was a radical move. And I've got to believe NATO foreign ministers behind closed doors will
tell the Turks to chill out.
Look, we have some big issues to deal with. In the past couple of days Vladimir Putin has been in Iran, talking to the Iranians about the Syrian
situation. Those, the two countries, Iran and Russia, that have the most significant leverage on Assad.
We've obviously got the problem of accelerating airstrikes and deconflicting with the Russians about striking ISIS in Syria.
So in the midst of those big conversations, how does NATO and the Americans, the Brits, et cetera, engage Putin?
How do we deal with deconflicting airstrikes?
We have the Turks saying that they're going to shoot down an aircraft. I think NATO's response to this is going to be, you guys have to relax while
we figure out some of the bigger questions on the table.
CURNOW: So you are saying this is a bit of a sideshow?
MUDD: I think it is. The Turks have a right to be frustrated with the Russians. As was mentioned earlier, have been bombing locations where
there are Turkmen individuals, those are people who are sort of cousins of the Turks. They've -- we have seen incursions into Turkish territory
They're right to go to NATO and say we're frustrated. That is a different question than saying in the midst of this big diplomatic dance about
whether Iran and Russia are approached by NATO, whether you want to divert attention by taking down an aircraft, I think NATO's answer will be no.
CURNOW: OK. We all know how sensitive Russia feels about NATO.
So the question is, what does Russia do next?
MUDD: One of the questions I think the Russians are going to face is, they --
MUDD: -- clearly are going to want to figure out eventually over the long term a way out of the Assad problem as well. They got themselves saddled
with a dictate a dictator that gives them entree to the Middle East but also isolates them with Europe. I think there's going to be tough language
about any cooperation on the ouster of Assad. They have already indicated that they will not take Western pressure to oust Assad, that they will
I think this might harden Russian resolve to maintain their relationship with Assad.
And the problem with this all along is the President of the United States has said, Assad has got to go as part of any deal. So while we've got
these terrorist plots centered on Syria, we've got a widening divide between what the ultimate solution is.
Does that solution involve some slow ouster of Assad/
Or does the White House stay tough on saying any solution has to involve his leaving the scene?
I think the divide between Russia and the West will increase.
CURNOW: OK. So the key here is that Hollande is trying to bridge or browbeat, you know, all of these different parties; while Mr. Obama, I
suppose, it's becoming clear that the key to all of this perhaps lies with Moscow.
MUDD: It does. I think one of the difficulties from America is we've, in this country, have set up an idealistic line that says this guy is a brutal
dictator, that is Assad, who has used chemical weapons over his own people.
But the leverage of the United States and their limited influence over Syria -- I mean, let's face it, the United States is backing oppositionists
in Syria who are dwarfed by ISIS and Al Qaeda.
The leverage over the United States to affect the departure of Assad -- pretty limited. There are two countries that have more leverage than we
do. That is Iran and Russia. And now today we have the potential Russia that will be more isolated.
The question for Washington will be pretty basic. If you want an end to this civil war, that's got to go through Moscow. If you want to insist on
an idealistic position that says Assad has to go immediately, I think Moscow is going to say no.
So for you, it's pretty simple. Let's just talk about the facts on the ground in terms of these pilots. Unclear exactly the status of them at the
moment. One might be dead. Either way, they're in Syria.
Will it make any difference if Turkey tries to help get them home?
What happens if these pilots aren't returned and just the mere fact of their bodies or them being captured becomes even more of an incident?
MUDD: I think NATO should, behind closed doors, be pressuring Turkey to get those bodies or if there is any live individuals, home immediately.
The language out of Turkey so far has been pretty tough.
Over the next 24-48 hours, I would expect the pressure on them to increase to say you've got to figure out a way to close this gap with the Russians.
So I'm thinking they believe possibly that NATO is going to gather and show some sort of public support for them.
I would question that. I can't believe NATO is going to open gaps among members publicly.
But a meeting with Turkey, if I'm in Ankara right now, it doesn't necessarily mean NATO's going to say what you did was right and you can
hold those bodies and those prisoners. I think they will say, fix this now. We won't expose you publicly. But send those pilots home, whether
they're dead or alive.
CURNOW: OK. Phil Mudd as always, thank you so much for your perspective.
MUDD: Thank you.
CURNOW: Coming up on the INTERNATIONAL DESK, French police find a possible suicide vest in a garbage can near Paris.
Could it be linked to the eighth attacker still on the run?
CURNOW: Hi, there, you are watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow.
Police in Northwest Germany are looking for Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam after getting a tip that he might be hiding there. The expanded
search comes as French authorities work to find out if an object found in a Paris suburb is a suicide vest. Police sealed off part of Montrouge after
the item was discovered in a trash can.
Well, our Jim Bittermann joins us now from Paris.
Hi, there, Jim, this vest can give all sorts of indications, clues to investigators.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: One would think so, Robyn, especially some -- perhaps some fingerprints, something like that.
Basically, what happened was this: according to the police reports that we've obtained, there was this vest found which does contain some of the
same kind of explosive that was used in a suicide vest in the attacks on Friday the 13th.
What we don't know for sure is exactly whether the vest was activated or not, whether it was possible to detonate or not.
Apparently, according to some reports here, there was no detonator on the vest. It was found outside of a kind of a youth hostel on the south side
of Paris. Now most of the action here, with the attacks on Friday the 13th, took place on either the east side of Paris or the north side of
The vest was found way in the south, in Montrouge and it was found under a pile of garbage or the garbage bag covering it, according to one of the
people who saw it, discovered, apparently a city cleaner found it and it was just a pile of garbage sitting on the sidewalk.
He picked up the garbage bag and saw it was a suicide vest underneath it. And this would -- the reason that the police were looking in this
particular area was that they tracked the cell phone which belonged to Salah Abdeslam, they tracked the cell phone going from the north side of
Paris to the south side, to the area around where this was --
CURNOW: Jim, I'm just going to interrupt you there while you're talking. We are just seeing pictures of President Hollande arriving at the White
House. He just walked in. He slipped in quite quickly there.
But just an indication, Jim, of the kind of big diplomatic push the French president is making. He's really going to come to President Obama, asking
for a number of things.
I don't know if Jim is still on the line with us.
Yes, there you are.
What does Mr. Hollande want?
Jim, can you hear me?
OK. We seem to have lost him.
Thanks, so much, Jim, though; the issue of that suicide vest could provide a lot of clues, as I've said, for investigators in terms not just of who
made it but also perhaps where that eighth attacker is.
Well, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is speaking out against a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis. He's in the Middle East for separate
meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders before he sat down with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem earlier.
He called the recent Palestinian knife and car-ramming attacks terrorism that must be condemned.
Also, Pope Francis will begin his African tour on Wednesday. This is his first trip to an active war zone in the --
CURNOW: -- Central African Republic. Pope Francis will begin his six-day trip in Kenya and Uganda. And he plans to address the issues of conflict,
violence, poverty and homophobia; following the Paris attacks, of course, security will be heightened.
Well, still to come here at CNN, we sit down with Paris Saint-Germain's star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, how he says his teammates are coping with the
CURNOW: A star player of French football club Paris Saint-Germain is opening up about the attacks that struck France and the world this month.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic tells our Amanda Davies he and his team must move forward.
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC, PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: I feel that was heard there is a little bit -- it's a little bit cold, it's not like it was before. But we
still need to go on. We cannot give up here. We go on and we do what we need to do.
I play football. I try to do what I'm best at, playing football and make people happy and life goes on.
Whatever we do, we cannot bring some -- we cannot go back in time and change. So we have to go in front.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are some reports that some of your teammates have had concerns about coming back to Paris.
Has it changed how you've thought about it?
IBRAHIMOVIC: No, I mean, being afraid to come back, no. No. Being I don't want to come back?
No. I'm happy in Paris. I'm very happy. I have a good life here. Of course these things is not good. It's not supposed to happen. And it's
madness, what happened and but --
IBRAHIMOVIC: -- I don't know what to say. The only thing is I feel sorry for what happened and that's the way it is.
My father is Muslim and my mother is Catholic. And for me, it's all about respect. That is how I growed up and the way I grow to learned to be. And
that is the way I am.
CURNOW: Paris Saint-Germain footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there, sharing his thoughts about sadness and resilience there in France in the wake of
the Paris attacks.
Still to come here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, more coverage on the escalating dispute between Russia and Turkey over the downing of that
Russian warplane. We'll ask a military expert how it might have unfolded.
CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow and here's a check of the headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Russian president Vladimir Putin says Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane is a stab in the back and will have serious
consequences for Russia-Turkish relations. The plane crashed in Syria.
Turkey claims it violated its airspace and was warned 10 times to go back. Russia insists it never entered Turkey. An emergency NATO meeting on the
downed jet begins in just about a half an hour in Brussels. An official says NATO is following the situation closely and is in touch with Turkish
CURNOW (voice-over): And French president Francois Hollande is at the White House to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. The two leaders will
discuss ways to best confront ISIS in Syria and Iraq. President Hollande is trying to shore up support for a broad international coalition in the
wake of the Paris attacks.
Now we know that conversation in the White House is going to underscore the concern and the heightened insecurity that we have seen across the region
as a fallout from the Syrian crisis.
Of course, President Hollande, in the last week or so since those Paris attacks, has been on a mission, meeting with foreign leaders from around
the world. He met with David Cameron, the British prime minister, yesterday. He is now meeting with President Barack Obama there, there you
can see landing in Washington, just a bit earlier at Joint Base Andrews.
And, of course, he will be meeting with President Putin also in the coming days and Angela Merkel, the German leader. All of this, an effort, a
renewed effort to give more vigor to this coalition to try and take out ISIS, try and stem the flow of foreign fighters and the growth of ISIS in
And the big question hanging over all of this is where does President Assad fit into the plan and can a diplomatic solution be cobbled out through all
these different parties?
You can see President Hollande had arrived White House there. He quickly walked into that meeting, brisk, a lot to talk about, these two men, it's
no doubt going to be a very frank, very thorough conversation, wide ranging and gives also particular intensity, since this Russian jet was downed by
Turkey and NATO allies and, of course, that also, as our correspondents have been saying, complicates an already volatile situation.
So what are we going to talk about and what is -- what are the -- what is the U.S. president and what is the French president going to talk about?
We understand that they are meeting in the White House and we do have some tape of that. Let's listen in.
CURNOW (voice-over): Currently it's coming in just a few moments.
There it is, there it is. Let's listen.
It is sometimes a chaotic scene, as you can see there, as a lot of the reporters have bundled in, jammed in, cameras over their shoulders,
microphones out into the Oval Office to try and get just that photo opportunity of the two presidents but also hope that they might say
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All right.
Thank you, everybody, we're going to have a press conference, so no statements. But I'm glad to Francois --
Thank you, thank you very much.
Thank you, everybody.
CURNOW: No statements and, of course, that press conference after that meeting will be thorough.
Well, Turkey insists the shootdown of that Russian warplane happened within the framework of engagement, rules our Nick Paton Walsh is watching
developments for us from Istanbul.
Hi, there, we have just seen the French president meeting, starting that meeting with President Obama.
This incident that happened in the past few hours really complicates things, doesn't it?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a distraction, frankly, from all those various different nations, fighting ISIS, wanting
to achieve, which is put aside the differences they could put aside and trying to focus on that particular group.
You have to be realistic, though, Russia and Turkey are on very different sides of the Syrian conflict. Always have been. Yes, Turkey is a NATO
member. And Russia perceives NATO to be a large threat to its west. We have seen so many different air forces in the skies over that border area
in just the past months.
We saw two violations, the Turkish say, by Russian aircraft of their airspace in the opening days of Russian air activity. And even suggestions
maybe a drone that Turkey shot down may have actually been Russian. That was never actually corroborated.
So a lot of tension there and this move, it appears, by Turkey, to decisively respond. They say, their prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, says
it's part of what they will do, any various measures required, to protect their border region.
But they say it occurs, if you look at the radar map they've released, it appears to show perhaps the jet even crossed the small enclave of Turkish
airspace that just out into Syria, maybe as much as twice.
WALSH: The Turkish military are quite clear, they gave 10 different warnings over five minutes and then one of their F-16s shot it down. But I
think many NATO members would say if you get unidentified foreign aircraft ignoring warnings in your airspace, then you do frankly, under the rules
of engagement, have the right to attack it, particularly given the level of violence and volatility happening in that area.
Remember, two Turkeys had Syrian aircraft there as well. So I think the meetings will obviously have this as a theme through it. I think we have
to step back and remember that the rhetoric of NATO versus Russia sounds so terrifying because of the Cold War and nuclear weapons that pervaded the
Now there is a renewed sense, I think, of tension in the words of "NATO and Russia," when you hear them, because of Russian moves around Ukraine and
because of NATO's sense that it needs to reinvigorate itself to stand up to what it perceives to be a threat there.
But if you look at the underlying rhetoric, I think you're seeing an immediate move diplomatically by the Russians to cancel a visit that would
have happened simply actually tomorrow here to Turkey. So no real surprise that's not happening, dampen down the potential for Russia to contribute to
Turkey's tourist industry, a lot of tough words from Vladimir Putin because, frankly, he has to talk that way. They've just lost an airplane
where they say it was inside Syrian airspace, where they believe they were operating under the invitation of the Syrian government and Bashar al-
But what it comes down to here, really, I think is just another reminder that we have Turkey, a NATO member, backing a lot of Sunni rebel groups,
who are fighting Bashar al-Assad inside Syria and Russia, backing Bashar al-Assad with anything they can, frankly, throw at it and also having many
Shia groups backing that Shia government on (INAUDIBLE) Ankara, on the opposite side of the sectarian war that's gripping the Middle East right
now -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much for that perspective there from Istanbul, Nick Paton Walsh.
I will take us now to Moscow, where our Matthew Chance is standing by also to give reaction and an indication of what is playing out there.
Putin coming out with some very harsh words, saying it's a stab in the back. But nobody here really wants a conflagration and an escalation
between Russia and a NATO ally or NATO, do they?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you'd think not. no. But, obviously, this is going to make avoiding an escalation, at
least in terms of the relationship between Russia and Turkey, of course, very difficult.
Already as Nick was saying, the Russian foreign minister has cancelled his plans for a visit to discuss Turkey, discuss Syria in Turkey, which was due
to take place tomorrow. That's the first diplomatic broadside, if you like, that's been fired. I expect there will be more to follow.
The foreign minister has also advised Russian citizens not to travel to Turkey as tourists, because of the emerging "terrorist threat" they've
received, characterized it. And the association of Russian tourists has joined in that chorus now, saying that they are no longer advising Russian
holiday makers to buy package deals to resorts inside Turkey.
So I think there is a sense in which the Russians are struggling to try and work out what their response should be. It's unlikely they're going to
stage a direct military response; I mean, that's not something that's necessarily in their interest, of getting involved in a conflict directly
But they do have to do something. They do have to make moves that are going to show the Russian public, at the very least, as well as the Turks
as well, that you can't just shoot Russian airplanes out of the sky.
CURNOW: Matthew Chance in Moscow, thanks for your perspective from there.
You are watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. We'll have much more news after this short break. Stay around.
CURNOW: A lot to talk about this hour, more on those escalating tensions between Russia and Turkey over Turkey's downing of a Russian airplane,
Part of the dispute is over whether the plane actually was in Turkish airspace. Let's take a closer look at that. CNN military analyst Lt. Col.
Rick Francona joins us now via Skype from California.
Thanks for being with us. I want your military expertise here.
How difficult is it to know what airspace you're in?
Can a genuine mistake be made here?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, well, this is an area of the border where the border is very jagged. You could easily fly
over one part of it by going from one part of Syria to another, you'd actually overfly a little bit of Turkey.
And that is probably very easy to do. Remember this is a two-person crew in this Russian fighter bomber, the Sukhoi 24. The pilot, of course,
concentrating on flying the aircraft. The weapons system operator is, probably at that altitude -- he was at 6,000 meters -- he was probably
looking for targets on the ground and probably wasn't paying attention to where that very porous border is.
And he may have inadvertently strayed over there. They normally fly in pairs. I assume his wingman was a little bit lower, ready to engage any
target he might find.
The problem with this area is it's inhabited by a minority called the Turkmen, who the Turks support, and their anti-regime. So the Russians are
bombing this group that the Turks are allied with. And the Turks are very sensitive about that and they're very sensitive about anything that
approaches that border.
This is not the first time the Russian have tested that border.
CURNOW: Well, it's not the first time the Russians have tested a lot of international airspace in the last year or so.
But before we get to that, I just want to talk about how this might have unfolded up there before this incident really escalated.
Even if they had accidentally strayed into Turkish airspace, how does a pilot ignore multiple calls, 10 apparently, from the Turks? Is that -- ?
FRANCONA: Yes, this is something we're going to need to get to the bottom of.
How did they issue the warnings?
Were the warnings in English? Were the warnings in Turkish or were the warnings in Russians? What frequency?
Normal procedure would be all pilots monitor their two frequencies that you monitor all the time for just these kinds of incidents. And if the warning
was given in Turkish and English, the pilots may not have understood. They may have not known it was for them. They may say, well, somebody has
violated the border but it's not us. A lot of things.
This is what happens when you've got a lot of airplanes in a very small part of the world. Remember, we've got Russians, French, Americans and, of
course, now the Turks flying in this airspace. So it's very, very congested.
CURNOW: And David Cameron is calling to also contribute some U.K. firepower over the skies there.
So then also next, what happens when a pilot ejects?
And of course, how vulnerable are they when they're -- after they've ejected?
FRANCONA: Well, they go through a sequence; once that they realize the aircraft is no longer airworthy, they've got to get out of it. So they
initiate the sequence. And it basically rocket-propels both of them out that way. And then the parachute opens.
Now, international law is very specific. When a pilot is ejecting from a disabled aircraft, you are not allowed to shoot him. You are allowed to
capture him once he gets to the ground and take him prisoner. From what I'm hearing, the pilots were actually fired on while they were in the
parachute. This is a gross violation of --
FRANCONA: -- international law. So we'll see how that plays out.
CURNOW: All very deeply concerning. So then --
FRANCONA: Very much.
CURNOW: -- my second of all, third or fourth question, I think I've lost track. How easy is it to take down a fighter jet?
We understand the Russians say now it was a Turkish F-16, it was an air-to- air missile. Just talk to us about how that kind of unfolds.
FRANCONA: The Turkish F-16s were on patrol. These are outfitted for air- to-air engagement. So they would have all the air-to-air weaponry. The Sukhoi 24, on the other hand, is a ground attack aircraft. It's a low
level penetrator. It's not really highly maneuverable. It probably was not carrying any air-to-air weapons and probably was not expecting to be
engaged by the Turkish air force.
So he is probably not maneuvering out of the way. It probably came as a surprise to him. But for an F-16 to hit a Su24, not hard at all.
CURNOW: Not hard at all. OK. Thanks so much. Great for your -- grateful to have your perspective, your military analysis here, Rick Francona, thank
you so much.
It will get out, eventually. Thank you.
Now, another story; let's move on here at CNN. The family of Ahmed Mohammed, dubbed the Clock Kid, is demanding $15 million and an apology
from the city of Irving, Texas, in its schools.
Now the Muslim teenager, if you remember, was arrested back in September for bringing a homemade clock to school, after a teacher mistook it for a
His arrest sparked controversy with many saying he was profiled because of his religion. Shortly after, he received an offer to study at the Qatar
Foundation and his family relocated to do Doha. Remember he also met President Obama at the White House.
Now the Texas city and school district have 60 days to respond.
Next here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, one man's trash is another man's treasure. See how a courier service is making composting a more viable
option in urban cities.
CURNOW: Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow. Now, composting food waste, eggshells, banana peels, coffee grounds, it's an impactful way households
can reduce their carbon footprint. But many find it inconvenient and messy.
Well, in the latest installment of our "Going Green" series, we meet an entrepreneur, who is not only making it easier but delivering fertile soil
to the local farmers.
DAVID PAUL, COMPOST WHEELS: Compost is used in a multitude of ways and it's amazing that we actually need this material for so many different
things. It could be a restaurant that wants to start an herb garden. It could be a home gardener who has some raised beds in their back yard.
It could be even someone living in an apartment who has some pots on their patio.
My name is David Paul. I'm the founder of Compost Wheels and I'm a champion for small farmers.
I live in Atlanta, Georgia. And we supply food wastes to farms and gardens in the city through collecting it from residents and commercial
establishments to create better soil systems.
Compost Wheels is a residential and commercial composite pick-up service. What that means, is you we give you a bucket. You collect your food scraps
in the bucket at home. That's anything you are cutting off your cutting board, your trimmings, your vegetable wastes, your coffee grounds, your tea
bags, egg shells, all that goes in the bucket.
We pick it up each week or every other week and we transport that material to farms and gardens. The farmers that actually turn the compost and
produce the finished product, they use it on their farm. And they get 50 percent of what we introduce. The other 50 percent is given back to the
home gardeners. And the home gardeners, they will use it then in their garden.
So Compost Wheels is making an impact on a larger scale in regards to our environment, because this material, this food waste material, when it ends
up in our landfills, it is releasing methane. And these landfills are basically heating up our environment. And that's one of the worst ways we
can possibly dispose of our waste.
So what Compost Wheels is doing is we're taking that material out of the landfills and that is a big deal.
CURNOW: I want to update you on this developing story that we have been following here at CNN since those attacks in Paris last Friday. Now
several of the men believed to have taken part in those attacks have strong ties to Brussels, especially the suburb of Molenbeek, with its history of
links to terror plots.
One Belgian mother, whose son has become a radicalist fighting in Syria, spoke to CNN's Nima Elbagir. Here's her exclusive report.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (through translator): It's a nightmare.
As a mother you feel, did I not give him enough love?
Maybe I didn't give him enough love?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We promised this Belgian mother not to show her face or broadcast her voice. Her son is an ISIS
fighter. He's threatened to kill her if she speaks publicly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Truly, it's terrible. I feel so guilty.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): And she's not alone. Hundreds of young Belgians are now fighting in Syria alongside her son.
Market days at the Molenbeek town square, a sign behind glass reads, "Together against hate."
The Paris attack brothers, Ibrahim and Salah Abdeslam, grew up together on these streets with the architect of the French capital's horror, Abdelhamid
AHMED EL KHANNOUSS, DEPUTY MAYOR OF MOLENBEEK (through translator): These were guys who met on a regular basis here in my neighborhood. I can tell
you that there were no signs of the clothing, a way of talking, even less the behavior of radicalization.
That is the most intriguing. We have no ways of anticipating any kind of behavior like this. And this worries us even more. I think this should
make us think about the capacity that ISIS has.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Molenbeek is now almost synonymous with the horrors of that night in Paris. But this is a national nightmare. Belgium, per
capita, contributes the highest number of foreign fighters to ISIS. Their communities, their mosques, are struggling to fight back.
ELBAGIR: In your experience, where does the radicalization happen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you have, on the streets, on the Internet you have also some -- almost where society failed, actions such as attacking
racism and discrimination.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking French).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) because we have an excuse that we should give them an argument to stand up against a society. Yes, there are
discrimination. But that's not an excuse to do stupid things.
KHANNOUSS (through translator): There is at first contact with a person who is trained to convince them. Then they get in contact with someone who
is thousands of kilometers away, then the local network kicks in for tickets, pay for the flights.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): All under the nose of Belgium authorities.
CURNOW: OK. That was Nima Elbagir reporting there.
Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow.