Nightly News | August 02, 2012
>>> now we turn to syria and significant new help for the rebels from the united states . as we first reported here last night, president obama has authorized the cia to provide support for the rebels against the regime in this civil war . there are developments actually on a couple of fronts tonight. we get our report from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell .
>> reporter: rebel video posted online showing the pace of fighting intensifying around aleppo, syria 's largest city. rebels take on a convoy of syrian army tanks and personnel carriers. they suffer losses but celebrate capturing at least one tank. nbc's richard engel is inside northern syria covering the rebel forces.
>> reporter: aside from weapons the rebels also need strategy. rebel units generally operate independently or coordinate on a local or regional level. they don't always have a big picture of what's happening on the battle field nationwide. they need guidance on where to attack, where to retreat, and how to win a war instead of just carrying out somewhat random attacks and ambushes.
>> reporter: the u.s. is stepping up. president obama has signed a top- secret order approving covert cia aid to the rebels coordinated from southern turkey at a command center in adana near the giant u.s.-run nato base at incerlik.
>> both the u.s. military and intelligence community could provide signals intelligence support, overhead imagery from satellites or other aircraft, and they can also simply help advise them on military tactics .
>> reporter: the rebels also reportedly now have shoulder-mounted missiles. though u.s. officials say not from the u.s.
>> we've heard various reports about other nations providing it. we've heard reports of the cia , quote, vetting, but the fact is the united states has not been doing nearly what it can do.
>> reporter: and today a major defeat for diplomacy. u.n. envoy kofi annan quit his mission blaming russia, syria 's ally, while vladimir putin refused to yield in talks with david cameron who sat down with matt lauer .
>> we should send a very clear warning to the syrian leadership if they on any scale use chemical or biological weapons very severe consequences could follow.
>> reporter: many in congress say this is not america's war.
>> american intervention, american words, are not going to resolve this. this is really something that has to be worked out more on the ground by the leadership, itself, and by the neighbors.
>> reporter: but there is broad agreement that the u.s. would step in immediately if assad were to use chemical weapons . still, by sending the cia the hope is that the rebels would stand a chance of winning without putting u.s. troops in the middle of another civil war . brian?
>> andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom with the latest tonight. andrea, thanks.