Nightly News | July 19, 2012
>> now to the crisis in syria, a nation truly now on the brink after that deadly strike that took out four of president assad 's top deputies. there are reports 250 people were killed across that country just today. that would make it the deadliest day since the uprising started. as we've reported time may be running out for president assad .
>> reporter: a day after his regime was dealt a devastating blow president assad appeared on state television swearing in his new defense minister . still alive, still in control, and still in damascus. in the once secure capital intense fighting continued for a fifth day close to key government installations. assad 's control is slipping. outside damascus at border crossings like this one with turkey rebels overran syrian guards smashing pictures of the president and capturing a gateway for more weapons and more fighters. the rebels advanced. footage posted online shows syrian tanks withdrawing from the city and abandoned tanks in rebel hands. but as the pace quickens inside syria the diplomatic stalemate at the u.n. continues. russia and china vetoing the resolution calling for tougher sanctions and drawing an angry u.s. response.
>> the russians and the chinese decided yet again they would rather protect assad to the bitter end even though the bitter end is coming and this is manifestly not in their long-term interests.
>> reporter: assad may have avoided tougher sanctions for now but he remains staggered by yesterday's attack which removed key players from his inner circle and gave a huge psychological victory to the rebels, now more intent than ever on removing him from power. brian, the violence there is escalating. the refugee crisis, the u.s. today said close to 10,000 syrians have fled into neighboring countries just in the past 24 hours as assad 's struggle for control now includes a fight to control his own borders. brian?