August 20, 2019: San Jose Mayor On Gun Insurance; Native American Voters
This message comes from here and now sponsor indeed. If you're hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes set up screener questions then zero in on your your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started at indeed dot com slash n._p._r. Podcast the city of san jose is considering a proposal that would make it. The first in the country to require gun owners carry liability insurance. The city's mayor sam lombardo says he was compelled to put forth this proposal. After three people died in a mass shooting in gilroy just south of the city. Two of the victims were from san jose under the mayor's proposal liability would cover accidental sydell shootings and acts committed by someone who stole a gun but would not cover any intentional acts by the gun owner. This proposal comes as the nation debates how to address arrests mass shootings in the wake of the horrific fatal shootings in california texas and ohio. Mayor lombardo joins us now to discuss mayor. Welcome good. It'd be with you tanya. You compare this bill to requiring car insurance. Can you make that case well. We know that the use of automobiles results in almost almost forty thousand deaths a year <hes> we know most of those from accidents of course gun similarly 'cause about forty thousand deaths a year in this country although most by suicide we know that there's a lot of accidental death and injury seventeen thousand people. You're are injured in in gunfiring and we know that they're safer measures. That could be taken. We know that four point six million children live in households where a gun is both loaded and unlocked and insurance can force people to engage in safer behavior whether they get good driver discounts or discounts for airbags or perhaps perhaps discounts were having a gun safe and for having a child safe walk on the god <hes> well of course we know the supreme court has said that americans have the right to keep and bear arms arms. If this bill is passed. You probably have some court challenges. Some people might say the requirement would prevent people from exercising their rights. What do you say to that. We do expect to be lawsuits as there always are with any gun regulation but while the second amendment protects the right of individuals to keep him bear arms it it does not compel taxpayers to subsidize the cost of that choice in right. Now taxpayers are paying extraordinary public health bill for gun violence in the state of california. It's about one point four billion dollars between hospital police emergency medical response. What's at cetera. Let's talk a little bit about people who can't find or afford insurance. You're gonna require contributions to public fun to cover the cost of gun. Violence silence of the city pays for what are some of those costs in. How much is the city planning to pay. We're going to conduct what we call a nexus study over the the next few months to try to link the activity to the actual cost of the harm and by that i mean we're gonna need to collect the data from the local -mergency room wjr and from the police chief and <hes> from the fire department for its emergency response in all the other folks who are using public resources to respond to due to an address gun violence <hes> in the recent shooting in gilroy we sent more than seventy police officers down there and many fire trucks that is just part of what we deal with on a daily basis with gun violence in this city in every city in the country. The gunman in gilroy used a gun that he purchased in nevada. It's an a._k._47. Style semiautomatic matic rifle. It's already illegal to buy or own in california. <hes> we'll restrictions on city or even a state level really make a difference and steal. There needs to be federal legislation well. Of course i would love to see federal legislation love to see an assault weapons ban reinstated in this country as we had for many respect back in the nineties. There's no question that this measure will not suddenly stop gun violence but at least in the city of san jose we're going to stop making the public pay for worth and if other cities are willing to follow suit and join us and hopefully states than we can ensure more comprehensive protection for the public and i i should also point out that that assailant went to nevada. He was nineteen years old. I think every parent knows how expensive it is to get insurance for a nineteen enroll to drive a car will so similarly premiums <hes> can ensure that folks who should not begin access to guns. We'll be paying more with the little time that i have with you. I wanna ask you about another big law. That just passed in california governor. Gavin newsom signed a use of force bill into law just yesterday that means police in california will be required to use lethal force only as a necessary response to a threat instead of an objectively reasonable response. What effect do you believe. This law is going to have on policing in california well. I not sure i can speak to the entire state but certainly within the city of san jose where we have very active program of training and deescalation deescalation rather and very <hes> stringent review of every use of force. I think we're going to be fine. I think our police officers only use as far as i can tell are pretty well trained to only use guns and deadly force when absolutely necessary and i think it will be a good thing for other departments to be engaged in the kind of stringent reviewed necessary to ensure that deadly forces. This is only used in those times. That's mayor sam lucado mayor of san jose california. Thank you so much for taking the time thank you could be with you and it's day. Two of a rare forum for presidential candidates focused entirely on native american issues today. Five presidential hopefuls are scheduled to address the forum in sioux city iowa author. Marianne ron williamson spoke yesterday. She said she wants the u._s. To atone for its treatment of native americans we will begin by taking that picture of andrew jackson off the wall of the oval office. I assure you i am not a native american woman but i find at one of the greatest insults assaults you will not be insulted. Andrew jackson signed the indian removal act in eighteen thirty. Many native americans consider that an act of genocide minnesota senator amy klobuchar also spoke yesterday she promised to improve the federal government's relationship with tribes and i can promise you as your president i will respect sovereignty and i will strongly believe in government to government negotiations and consultations that that is attention was on senator elizabeth warren who's had issues with the native american community in the past yesterday. She addressed the controversy over a dna test s. She took to prove her native american ancestry after she'd been taunted by president trump. I know that i have made mistakes. I am sorry for harm. I have caused i have listened and i have learned a lot and i am grateful for the many conversations stations that we've had together. It is a great honor to be able to partner with indian country and that's what yeah i've tried to do. As a senator and that's what i promise i will do as president of the united states of america joining us now is jordan bennett annaba gay. She's washington editor for indian country today and jordan start with warren's apology that we just heard how was it received their. I mean you're gonna have everybody on all sorts of the spectrum who who <hes> don't agree with the politicians decisions but then when you come to these events such as this <hes> and this is the second l. native like avandia bench who wished rushed where she received a warm welcome so i mean i feel like non media have focused on her ancestry and they haven't really got to the core of of what native stakeholders want they want candidates to solve their issues are have a plan or have something you know. They're a lot of challenges challenges that any countries dealing with in that's what the media should focus on and that is what elizabeth warren is trying to focus on now. She recently published a set of policies that are geared toward native eight of americans. <hes> this document was twice as long as other policy proposals that she's put out before <hes> promises more money for indian country calls for a new cabinet level. The white house counsel on native american affairs <hes> what else is is noteworthy in her new plan. Oh there's tons of like no were-they things i mean she addresses native youth in the policy policy. She addresses <hes> suicide prevention the <hes> remove the stain act <hes> you can see within the nineteen page judge plan that she definitely you know knows indian countries issues and knows the complexities of it to you referred to remove the stain act. That's a bill that's being considered by congress congress that would rescind <hes> twenty wounded knee medals of honor the u._s. Soldiers were given <hes> during that massacre in the eighteen hundreds <hes> but you know elizabeth elizabeth warren is not the only candidate who's paying attention to this bernie. Sanders has a section on his website dedicated to native issues. Julio castro has a proposal called people. First indigenous communities communities calling for more tribal sovereignty as well <hes>. Why do you think these issues are arguing elevated in this election cycle among democrats this because i think now they're definitely really <hes> paying attention to the native vote and how powerful it is and i also think that it's due to a lot of movements like standing rock that got people to pay attention to native communities and that's why they're there stopping at them walkie nation here in iowa <hes> really ah paying attention jordan benefit gays washington editor with indian country today. She is covering the form on native american issues in sioux city iowa our thanks very much for your time. Thank you so much to and jordan mentioned. The power of the native vote will according to the twenty ten cents is only about five million people identify via native american and alaskan native but native voters could be key in some swing states where they're voting age. Population is more than president trump's margin of victory three in two thousand sixteen those states include arizona michigan minnesota nevada north carolina and wisconsin and while turnout has traditionally been low among among native american voters that number has been on the rise over the last several elections presidential candidates looking for their votes hope the election last year of the first two native american women women to congress will boost enthusiasm and make native americans a crucial voting bloc in two thousand twenty. Now we're beginning to see the fallout of new trump administration rules that restrict federal federal family planning funds known as title ten to healthcare providers if they refer women for abortions a number of states including hawaii illinois in washington state eight are joining planned parenthood and other health providers in saying they will no longer accept titled ten funding which has been used to provide low income people with birth control and reproductive sucked of health screenings and several states will be left without any private health clinics funded by the program including new hampshire. Lisa leach is executive director of the levering health center. One of the clinics affected in greenland new hampshire. Hi lisa hi tonya. How hard of a decision was it to withdraw from accepting these federal funds. It's a great question <hes> and we were there was a lot of discussion surrounding what we were going to do but it was pretty clear that our mission chen <hes> originally for forty years has been as an abortion care provider so we pretty quickly made the decision to withdraw. How will the day to day operations change at your clinic. We're looking at things like <hes> eliminating <hes> the sliding scale fee for service program which is a huge draw for our independent pennant center <hes> unfortunately that may have to be one of the first things we eliminate the other is <hes> eliminating our sti h._i._v. Walk in clinic hours will still keep the program <hes> to the best of our ability but we will have to. We're looking at doing away with the walk in availability program <hes> we're also looking at <hes> we provide a lot of low cost contraception all types and that's another program that we're really looking at. How are we going to be able to continue. Can you to keep those prices low and affordable <hes> for for the large number of folks that rely on us for that because as you you know if we can kenner provide those low-cost contraception programs <hes> to people that need them. It's only going to be more unintended pregnancies and share with us a little a bit about your clinic. <hes> those most affected by this decision to reject federal funding we see all types of clients here at the lowering health center but but a large number of our catch men are folks that are uninsured underinsured at the poverty level and low income families that rely on us. It's also a large amount of of of clients that don't feel comfortable going to what you know. Quote unquote a traditional healthcare provider. They come to an independent health care center because of the immune. It's truly a judgment free health centers unders. We're very worried that these patients they will let this healthcare drop. They won't pursue other options because there aren't any other options for them. Low cost. I <hes> care is important. We also have a very large population of college kids <hes> that come here for reproductive and sexual health not only their our health care but education <hes> and preventative care and counseling and testing and treatment. Some people come here every three months serving these communities. It sounds like it is at the core of your mission. <hes> how are you all in plans to try to find other sources of funding to restore these services or to keep them afloat more looking looking at a foundation grant funding private donations <hes>. We have our our our annual events coming up in october. <hes> it's usually usually a celebration of the health center. <hes> in this year will be a little bit different flare. It's going to be more of a call to action that <hes> right now. We really need the community support. Lisa leach is executive director of the levering health center in greenland new hampshire lisa. Thanks for talking with us. Thank you tony. I appreciate it out of the issue of medicare for all last week. I was in maine reporting on its potential impact on hospitals. Here's peter wright who runs the rumford hospital in rural main. If you're talking about medicare for all and turning everyone of our patients into a medicare patient it would probably mean we'd end up closing our doors. Eventually hospital administrators across across the country are lining up against the plan by some presidential candidates to give every american government health plan. They say medicare. Reimbursement rates are too low to stay in business now. Supporters argue that medicare could pay hospitals more for every procedure and that administrative costs under a single payer system would go way ah down. Let's take a closer look at the numbers with craig garth wait. He's a healthcare economist the kellogg school of management at northwestern university craig welcome in what's your take doc would medicare for all be a net benefit for hospitals or cause some of them to shut down. I think it really depends on what type of hospital you're talking about in terms of what their patient pixes today <hes> so if you're a hospital that serves a lot of medicaid patients or in particular a lot of people who don't have insurance and have a lot of uncompensated <hes> pity care the increase in benefit you'll get from medicare for all would be that those people would all have insurance now and so they would go at the extreme of paying nothing to pay you medicare rape. You'd have more customers in short will you. You might have the same number of customers. You'd have more. Paying customers would be the way to think about it. Remember that hospitals like doctors and do you have to treat all patients who show with an emergency so if you ever emergency room at a patient shows up who's in the -mergency condition. You've got to stabilize that patient regardless of their ability to a pet. If they're covering medicare for all you wouldn't have to worry about that. That's sad private. Insurance tends to pay anywhere up to two times or three times james board than the medicare rate so if your hospital had a bunch of private patients who are now going to move down to medicare. That's gonna cost you a lot of money and so it really is a question question about what the patient mixes that you're seeing today will dictate how medicare for all affects you. I think this is an important distinction because on the one hand it seems like this conversation cleaves down the middle in some ways rural hospitals where many patients are poor. Many of them are using medicare or medicaid. <hes> might be very different than a big big city hospital where payments from private insurance make up the bulk of their business so <hes> it. Should it be that these more urban hospitals have have more to lose. Who's <hes> i mean certainly should've the for lack of a better term the fancy urban hospital to probably the ones that have the most to lose the ones who have used either their market the power in terms of having been one of few number of hospitals in the city or they're really high quality to attract high private prices. They've got the most to lose. Rural hospitals could do well right but there are some. Some of the problem for rural hospitals is just that there are simply not enough patients there to support the hospital hospital whether it's medicaid whether it's medicare whether it's private insurance that the hospital is a really big fixed costs enterprise rural communities get smaller a lot a lot of them just can't support their hospital and we as a country have to figure out whether medicare for all or not right what we want to do about that question in medicare for all may not be enough have to save those hospitals exactly and then we have to think will exactly what kind of hospital we need neural senate. Do we need to sort of you know stabilize you just enough to send send you onto a bigger hospital. That's located in a larger city but that might be one way one way of thinking about is it. Maybe the best thing for rural patience is we invest in a really good fleet of government owned air ambulances and we use the set of local hospital triage and move you to more sophisticated facility for the hospitals in bigger cities <hes> these fancier hospitals as you say that rely on private insurance. How would they adjust to a medicare for all situation. They're gonna have to decrease some of the things that are attractive to private patients today right so they're making investments in both with clinical and non clinical quality so both attracting the top doctors offering really should have extensive procedures but also other things like nice rooms uh-huh and everyone has a private room right all those those all going to have to be scaled back under medicare for all and we'll and we'll get a healthcare system them that probably is a little bit lower quality on average but a bit more equal across right so everyone's going to kind of go to the same kind of hospital because except what's going to be paying the same and we as society just want to figure out whether that's what we want we want that everyone kind of goes to the same hospital but no no one gets to go to a really great hospital on the issue of reimbursement rates. Do you think that lawmakers writing these bills would feel pressure to keep the prices they reimburse hospitals where they are now or maybe even lower because the size of medicare for all program would just be so large by the government could actually use. It's purchasing power to cram down but we pay now note. That's gonna involve raising taxes and unsurprisingly were not having a very sophisticated debate about this point about the the higher taxes for medicare for all because some of those higher taxes are just going to reflect healthcare premiums that you're no longer having to pay right. Get medicare for all. You're no longer paying your health insurance out of your paycheck every week but instead. You're paying taxes to the government the pick by the way is that a valid argument. I mean i hear a lot of the candidates saying that you won't be paying. Premiums copays that sort of thing. Is that a. Is that a fair argument or they right about that. I <hes> we have employed by insurance anymore now. Whether medicare for all would have some premium that that they could structure it that way they can structure she medicare for all to have some type of sliding scale of premium. That's fine but it's a point. It's just a trade off right. The the more you force people to pay premiums get access to medicare <unk> care for all the less. You have to raise taxes to pay for it because you're getting premiums but i think it's disingenuous to say that tax increases are the reason why we shouldn't do it to the extent that those tax increases are supplanting premiums that we otherwise would have been that's craig garth wait healthcare economist at the kellogg school of management at northwestern university and link to my story about medicare for all in its potential impact on a hospital in rural maine the night before his first pursing with catherine o'hara. Dan levy was a little freaked out. This is my first time acting since a lifetime movie that i did with me. Shebarghan ah the stories behind the celebrities every tuesday on it's been a minute from n._p._r. From n._p._r. and w._b. You are i'm peter o'dowd. This is here renou two big american companies have some worrisome news today. The home depot says it's lowering its sales outlook for the year over tariff concerns meanwhile u._s. steel says it's laying off as many as two hundred workers in michigan. The company's stock has plunged since president trump announced a crackdown on foreign steel imports last year m._s._n._b._c. anchor and economics correspondent joins us now. Hey alley so one of the problems at home. Depot looks like is the the price of lumber its way down yeah the price of lumbers down <hes> and home depot sort of included it all in the same sentence they call it. They blame their product of their problems. Comes on continued lumbered price deflation as well as potential impact to the u._s. Consumer arising from recently announced tariffs so it sounds like they're talking talking about the fact that lumber prices are affecting them but you know when it comes to large <hes> large purchases that are discretionary you find that with all this talk of trade war and stock market problems and all of that there may be customers who are <hes> delaying some of their decisions to spend big money on the types of products that make homedepot greatest profits okay but what's the silver lining because home depot shares are up this year and they were actually up this morning yes so expectations right <hes> we saw last week in the midst of a really bad downturn in the stock market. We saw walmart coming out saying <hes> you know expectations are that growth will still be up over the next twelve months. That's what home depot said. <hes> that sales were up three percent overall compared to last year three point one percent in the united states and they still expect it to grow. Oh similarly over the next year the average shoppers ticket the amount they spend was up over last year not a ton but it's up so up is better than down. We're looking for two things right is our is everything going really well and our things doing right now and then there's the issue of u._s. Steel the company announced temporary layoffs that it's great lakes facility ability in michigan more. Maybe coming in september a look at the price of steel. It's down substantially and demand from auto and farm machinery sectors has weakened right <hes> <hes> what's what's going on there and will you laugh really temporary. Two things are going on there. A demand is weakened because prices are up that that then we demand and prices go down so oh the tariffs are an an effect there and then the overall effect of slowing economy some of which may be because of trade war and tariffs some of which may be because the global connie's slowing in the u._s. Economy slowing a little bit. Those are the same problems construction unless construction fewer car sales things like that <hes> union worker which represents the u._s. steel workers said they don't expect any real changes in employment level at the particular one plant in indiana in one plant in michigan but the fact is it's never a good sign when starts slow down we have seen farm machinery and construction machinery <hes> demand plummet actually as a result of the tariffs. The white house has tried to downplay play fears of a recession <hes>. These two stories are not proof that a recession coming but what what can we take away from them about the state of the economy and it's good to know there's virtually never proof until it's underway but what you can take away that consumers who are making a large ticket purchases and industry that are making large purchases are all just thinking about it for a while. It doesn't mean they're not gonna make those purchases but this is what happens when you have uncertainty in the economy. People delayed decision-making when you have enough of that that's what leads to a recession m._s._n._b._c. anchor economics correspondent ali ville she thanks as always a pleasure a major fire burning outside of anchorage. Alaska is forcing evacuations today day. The state is experiencing one of its worst fire seasons on record but it is a different story in california where officials say the number of acres burned down down more than ninety percent this year compared to the past five years and as you may remember last year california had its deadliest fire in state history joining us now scott mclean spokesperson for california's department of forestry and fire protection cal fire in scott acres burned down dramatically this summer why several factors involved in one of the predominant factors of courses the weather keep in mind that right now. We still have a snowpack in place at the upper elevations. We can compare this year to two thousand seventeen where we start off similar but in two thousand seventeen we lost that snowpack fairly quickly and the temperatures started to increase to above a hundred and stayed consistent over a hundred degrees with wins and it looks like there are still fires burning in california but they're smaller right. We have about on average every year about two hundred and fifty to three hundred wildfires every week. Believe it or not that no one really hears about average just less seven hundred acres you know mid year we started out in two thousand seventeen two thousand eighteen with fires of several hundred acres and in comparison did this year since the weather is so up and down cyclical <hes> we're talking about nice cool weather and then we'll go into a hundred degrees and come back down to tight eighties mid nineties but we haven't seen much wind. I think the largest fired so far this year has been fourteen thousand acres called the tucker fire within four service area our largest fires just over two thousand acres. We're wrapping up at thirteen hundred acre fire right now so you can see the comparisons we're looking at just under twenty ninety. Five thousand acres burned to date in california under cal jurisdiction last year same time six hundred twenty one thousand acres well. What a turnaround from last year. When eighty six people died in the camp fire which burned one hundred and fifty three thousand acres but of course people in california know very well that fire fire season can pick up quickly. What are what are the risks down the road. Is you see them well. Historically september and october have been worst months as far as wildfires two thousand eighteen two thousand seventeen. We've had them all across the board starting in june working all the way through december. We are starting to dry out right now. We're looking gonna temperatures in the hundreds again letter part of this week. We've kind of seen it more prominent in the last few weeks so i expect to see that continued warming trend that drying trend humidity's. We're going to start lowering and you're gonna start seeing some fires in the upper elevations here in the near future so we have a long way to go this year no time for complacency yet yeah. That's scott mclean spokesperson for cal fire. Thanks for your time. Thank you very much and another reason. Officials are still worried is because after a century of preventing and putting out fires millions of acres of trees are overcrowded in the forest and more than ready to burn k. q. e. d. science reporter molly peterson visited weaverville california couple of hours from from the oregon border where people are looking at ways to save their forest in their community. This neighborhood is crowded. Many of its residents are sick and often often thirsty so they're vulnerable to fire and yeah these residents are trees ponderosa pine and douglas fir in the post ice age era. There's never been this many trees growing in this spot little entries forrester nicolette steps off a trail on a ridge above the little northern california town of weaverville in the trees as in chaparral below. He sees nuances city. People don't bunch grasses impervious grasp you can forbes in here like we're sunny enough and open up and that's what you would expect expect to see in the underscore even oak woodland his nonprofit watershed center aims to make trinity county forest healthier like spot he points to below cleared of dry tinder scorched in a controlled burn where the trees now can grow bigger with thicker bark proof in the pudding proof that healthier forest matters five years ago on a state route near town a roadside spark caught on brush and lifted into treetops wind pushed flames along the fast moving fire then met this area. It's called five accent gulch. The fire ran head on into this thinned and burned unit and the fire just laid down. The firefighters were essentially able to blanket and put handed out. My home was evacuated as part of that fires. I was very thankful. Five cent gulch's within the weaverville community forest. It's federal land but under special deals called stewardship agreements. Local people set priorities. There alison directs regional ecosystem services for the u._s. Forest service in california korea. We're seeing more and more collaborative. 's narrowly be formed but also be effective in terms of trying to do with forest health issues which is really exciting. That's exactly exactly what's happening. Around the shasta trinity national forest and getting here has been a major shift weaverville grew up around taking things from the land first gold then timber then clearcut logging practices sharpened old tensions into the timber wars of the nineteen eighties and nineties industry on one side environmentalists on the other. You either wanted to use the forest or to protect it sunshine and there's nowhere to hide in a small town so any place people met was a battleground including including this restaurant the trinity alps golf course that's where i'm meet environmentalist. Bob morris was terrible. Death threats were common. People were arming themselves. The forest tore this town apart but over time it brought people back together partly because fire was a risk and partly because what was happening opening wasn't working for anybody when she find areas of agreement you can make progress in progress was huge. The lead to morris's neighbor was the enemy a logger today. They're both part of diverse group. Stewarding the community forest mutual chore respect is hugely dissimilar interests working together and finding common ground and moving forward and making progress. It's finished huge. I'm proud of it at the change. Here isn't just in how people live with each other. It's how they live with. The forest. Not managing is not an effective tool for managing the washed also at lunch with us. Kelly sheen headed the county resource conservation district. He was a kid during the timber wars eating the forest blackberries and running its trails. Take it for granted now. He wants to take care of the forest for the long term and sciences clear. Suppressing fire isn't the best way to do that. I think it's just now that we're starting to understand what fire brings to the ecology of the land anymore. It doesn't seem such a stark choice here between using the forest and protecting it. The people now say the weaverville community forest is proof. They've sold timber from overdone stands and use the money to cover the costs of restoring areas. Most at risk for fire bowl of this isn't just based on what we want is based on science alex cousins sales manager at the trinity river lumber mill but he used to have kelly sheen's job now now he sheen bob morris nicolette are part of a collaborative group. The one approved that this kind of ecologically responsible logging could make millions of acres of federal forest orest less firepower because of the timber wars federal logging took a nosedive in the nineteen ninety s that put a lot of people out of work had fourteen mills. This is the last one standing the county's largest private employer. We've got all our eggs in this basket. There's no doubt we're the next generation that's coming forward and take that you know we wanna see these fours managed. We wanna see this mill as part of that not as the sole reason for that and we're tired of living in smoke all around weaverville our federal forest lands where officials spend more than five times as much fighting fires suppressing them as they do preparing for their inevitable return. We leave it alone at burns. That's probably the one constant and if you thin it out those trees could get bigger and that along with clearing vegetation and controlled burns can make a big big fire lay down crews from nicholas watershed center doing that wherever they can the spring they thinned out man's hans anita in a dense patch of pines one guy fires at torch like a rocket into a pile of cut shrouds aw fire scientists agree that controlled burns make forests healthier and wildfires less catastrophic but over the last fifteen years in california the u._s. U._s. forest service has rarely done them data gathered by the nonprofit news organization climate central show that wildfires have seared ten times more federal forest land. The plan burns have protected people. Here aren't waiting for the federal government anymore over and over in trinity county. I heard this that our forests are more than a backdrop more than a place to store carbon dioxide. We can't afford to leave them untouched. We assume someone else's responsibility wants ability at our peril nicolette the idea that the agencies and institutions of government are going to save us is thous goulette says the forest is our neighborhood and it's up to the people who love it and use it to save it themselves for here and now i'm molly peterson the civil war in syria. <hes> has fallen out of the headlines but it hasn't ended today. There are reports that troops opposed to president assad are pulling out of a key town deep in the rebel-held province of ad-lib syrian government forces have been pounding the town with airstrikes the b._b._c.'s martin patience is following the story from beirut martin. Tell us first more about what's happening in northwestern syria today what we've seen in the past four months as a sustained military campaign from the syrian government backed stop by russia and iran for several months the resigned strikes but in recent weeks we've seen boots on the ground and the focus has been southern eight lip. I am this key strategic time of conscious coon. Now there is fierce fighting in recent days reportedly heavy losses on both sides the the rebels side as well as the government side a man overnight rebels who lungs of that time according to reports. We are getting now. The syrian military has surrounded that time but they've yet to actually answer as far as the rebels are consent. That town has fallen into searing government from an hands. Can you tell us the strategic importance of this town. Conscious mon was the largest town in that part of southern italy was held by the rebels for five years so losing it is a big psychological blow by i think more importantly the mats it sits on key highway which runs from the capital damascus to the city of lampl apple is serious second biggest city in it appears clear that the government wants to try and retake control lavar highway in order <hes> the normal life resumes to syrian government controlled syria. Can you give us a deeper understanding standing of the makeup of these opposition forces in the province right now. Is it right to call them rebels. Are they al qaeda <hes>. Tell us a little bit more about awesome. It's a good question is complex and we're on the ground so often. It's very difficult to know who exactly is fighting who would since the start of this year won't seen as an alliance of jehan this and rebel factions now they're known as high yet thereto sham and they basically control it live which is the last opposition positions stronghold a many of their fighters from al qaeda's former affiliates in syria and therefore h._d. Sizes known is designated as a native a terrorist organization by several countries including the u._s. As far as the syrian government is consent everybody in it live raw vince he's. He's a terrorist but we have to remember is three million people there. The vast majority are civilians on one million of them are children. One one million how involved is russia right now in the fighting there in syria russia has been absolutely key in terms of backing the syrian government russia asia controls. The skies over syria has been carried out many of the the the air strikes that we've seen in recent months waffen adamson series. Your avair strikes to soften up is the military language and then the soldiers moving on the ground in terms of moving in the ground. The russian soldiers tend not to be involved h. Just <hes> carrying out airstrikes offering military advice but i think there's no question that russia's an absolutely key player and a a key backer of the syrian government and many ways when they entered the conflicts three or four years ago they swung the the war in favor of the syrian government mount martin. We've been hearing this week. <hes> increase tensions between turkey and syria. Can you tell us more about that. Turkey in a pretty short remove santa comb boy it supports some of the rebels in this opposition stronghold and i think it shows high complicate the conflict as in a in syria the syrian syrian government or the russians isn't clear who carries out there strike an airstrike landed near to that turkish convoy killed three people injured twelve others <hes> according to the searing government that convoy was going to supply armored vehicles in munitions to the rebels the fighting it so i think once again underscores the tensions between various countries in the region and how potentially war happens in syria could lead to something more serious for all the countries involved. There's been more than eight years of fighting there. Would it be right to say say that. President assad is really won this war. There's no question that is largely defeated the rebels there essentially caged in it lip province last opposition position stronghold but interestingly he says it's not over until he reclaims every inch of syrian soil is he sees it is difficult difficult to know how he's going to move into area which is three million people who say they will not be reconciled to his government's and thanks aid agencies are warning the if the syrian government continues to push into the last major opposition stronghold in syria it risks creating a humanitarian catastrophe okay so that is the big concern and that's why the international community including america have been putting pressure on the syrian government home russia and iran not to push too far into it led because the fear is there could be a bloodbath the b._b._c.'s martin patience in beirut martin thank you thank you.