Nightly News   |  May 30, 2013

Assad claims Syria has Russian missiles

If the Russians have in fact provided anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, they could be used to shoot down Western planes, or fend off Israeli airstrikes. Meanwhile, the Syrian civil war has spilled over into Lebanon where troops have been deployed. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> a troubling turn in the crisis in syria as the debate over arming the rebels continues president assad says his forces have their hands on new weapons from russia. this as we get a look at how the war in syria is spilling into neighboring lebanon . our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has made his way into the city of tripoli , lebanon , and has our report tonight.

>> reporter: president assad claims he has taken delivery of russian missiles with more on the way. russia has promised assad advanced anti-aircraft missiles, but the rebels don't have planes. instead, such missiles could shoot down western planes, enforcing a possible no-fly zone. or fend off israeli air strikes like this one last month in damascus. assad 's interviewer, a lebanese station owned by hezbollah which backs assad and sends fighters into syria . but now the fighting extends beyond syria . over the past two weeks, dozens have been killed in tripoli , lebanon 's second largest city. shiite muslims , assad supporters, and hezbollah fighting sunnis who back the syrian rebels. at night, gunfire. at sunrise, fighters in the streets. this coffee shop owner told us everyone here has guns at that time ready. he keeps four pistols hidden under his coffee machine . he doesn't hide the black flag outside his shop, a sign to sunnis, he's one of them. the lebanese are drawing battle lines. at a radio station a prominent sunni cleric said he fears the violence in tripoli will soon spread. we headed to the citadel where the fighting has been most intense. this is the front line in this lebanese city. the syrian civil war has already come here. lebanese troops have now moved in to try and keep the two sides apart. the lebanese army want to be peacekeepers, but even with armored vehicles , they are not as strong as hezbollah . and sunni gunmen ignore them. this country suffered its own civil war for 15 years. it may now be sliding into syria 's civil war as well. richard engel , nbc news, tripoli , lebanon .