Nightly News   |  June 14, 2013

Syrian rebels lose ground to Assad’s forces

Aleppo has experienced some of the heaviest fighting in weeks, following the U.S. promise to offer military support to the rebels.  For now, U.S. military sources tell NBC News that assistance will arrive “gradually.” NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the other major story we're following tonight. the obama situation's decision to send arms to the rebels in syria . syria dismissed claims that it used chemical weapons as lies, and one of the key allies vowed to continue supporting the regime. more from richard engel , in neighboring turkey.

>> reporter: in aleppo, some of the heaviest fighting in weeks. in a war that killed 98,000 people so are that. the regime's decision to kill 150 by chemical weapon caused the united states to get involved.

>> i can't give you an itemized list of the assistance and when it will come there.

>> reporter: assistance will come gradually. they rule out for sending u.s. troops and for now, imposing a no-fly zone. no heavy weapons that could take out tanks and full aircraft. it's what the opposition urgently needs.

>> no one told me when i receive the first shipment. i hope to receive it today, not tomorrow. because i need it yesterday.

>> reporter: syria is being destroyed. a third of the country he claims in ruins. 300,000 in regime jails. millions driven from their homes. assad weakened. frequent military defections with scores more today, including several generals crossing into turkey. but after months of gains, the rebels are now losing ground. to a sshiite alliance. from iran and hezbollah. hezbollah will fight whenever and wherever it pleased. just last week, they devastated the town of qusar and trove the rebels out. next target? al aleppo, a city the size of chicago. unless something is done soon, there might not be any rebels left to support. natalee.

>> richard engel in turkey. thank