Nightly News   |  September 02, 2013

Syrian violence continues

The war has displaced one-third of Syria’s population and shelling continues in the neighborhood where residents where hit with chemical weapons. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports on the ongoing struggle.

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

>> reporter: this is jim maceda in turkey near the syrian border. [ gunfire ]

>> reporter: thousands of miles from the political showdown in washington, syria 's civil war rages on. this damascus suburb just the latest target of president assad 's firepower. the war has claimed at least 110,000 lives so far, displaced some seven million people, 1/3 of syria 's population. today, more families escaped to turkey, fearful and angry at the u.s. and its allies. "we wish that the international powers had toppled the government," said mahmoud. "after more than two years it's too late now." assad himself hoping to take advantage of president obama 's hesitation today told the french that a u.s. air strike could trigger a conflagration in the middle east . "no one knows what will happen. everyone will lose control of the situation once the powder keg explodes," he said. he denied his forces used chemical weapons , challenging the u.s. and france to offer proof. secretary of state kerry says there is such proof.

>> and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of sarin.

>> reporter: assad said his own forces were the victims and blamed the rebels for the chemical attack , a claim few find credible.

>> we see quite clearly from the intelligence the satellite information, the human intelligence , and the positive testing that chemical weapons were used and almost certainly by the syrian regime.

>> reporter: assad continues to have a friend in moscow. russian president vladimir putin , who's called air strikes against syria foolish nonsense, has successfully blocked any action by the u.n. today, putin even offered to send russian lawmaker to the u.s. to lobby members of congress against authorizing military action again syria . and natalie, it pick up on reports, we are hearing from syrian citizens and experts that assad is using this delay to move artillery and rockets into residential areas, even into houses and schools, and is clearing out sensitive equipment and documents from command and control centers even as washington debates what to do next.