Inside Syria's civil war

Sneaking across Syria's border, Clarissa Ward reports from its most dangerous city, Aleppo, where a battle rages between rebel groups and Syria's military

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We spent the rest of the night listening to the terrifying sounds of jets swooping down and dropping their deadly payload. In the morning, we set out to inspect the damage.

Clarissa Ward: This morning at 6:30, we, like everybody else in this neighborhood, were awoken by a deafening blast. A jet had dropped a bomb and now in the light of day we can actually see where it fell on this house, flattening it, killing the owner and also injuring his wife and children.

Residents in the area told us they believed that the intended target was a nearby hospital. In Syria now, no place is safe; mosques, schools, even the lines outside the few bakeries still producing bread regularly attract fire.

It's a scorched earth policy. Literally. After President Assad's forces stormed through this neighborhood, English teacher and opposition activist Saleh Hawa came home to find this.

Saleh Hawa: They burnt it in a way to not to allow anybody to live here anymore. They meant it. It was not just by chance. They wanted to...they want to kill us. Just shortly. Either we accept Bashar al-Assad to be our president or we have to be killed. His soldiers wrote on every single wall in our city, 'Either you accept Bashar al-Assad or we burn the whole country,' and that's what they are doing now. They are burning the whole country.

In the towns and villages around Aleppo, the streets are eerily quiet.

[Dr. Maher Nana: The town is totally different. People have deserted...whoever left here they were living under bombardment...]

Dr. Maher Nana left Syria 13 years ago.

Maher Nana: Kids cannot sleep at night. People...they're, they're just expecting to get hit at anytime.

He runs a family practice in Delray Beach, Fla., but now spends much of his time traveling in and out of Syria on behalf of an organization called the Syrian Support Group. Its goal is to transform the Free Syrian Army from a disorganized grouping of militias, into a coherent force. But it also works closely with the U.S. government to identify credible rebel officers, like Colonel al-Oqaidi, and report on their progress.

Maher Nana: These commanders, they vow to protect civilians. They vow to protect democracy. They vow to obey international laws.

Clarissa Ward: Making vows is easy. Sticking to them is much harder. How can you be sure that these men are going to stick to those vows?

Maher Nana: Well, this is what you do. You provide and you check and you provide and you check and you provide and you check. And you make sure that they are standing for their values.

To check on them Dr. Nana makes frequent and often dangerous trips into Syria.

Clarissa Ward: You have a good life in Florida. You have a wife. You have two beautiful children. Why do you make those trips?

Maher Nana: We saw all the horrible videos in YouTube. I never forget that the Al Houla massacre where children were slaughtered. There is a girl who is around two years or three years and a half, the same age as my daughter. I never forget that video. I never forget that-- that-- that picture. Anything I do is just a little compared to what the people inside are paying for the price of freedom.

But his group has managed to do something significant. It secured special permission, a license, from the Treasury Department to raise money in the U.S. and send it to commanders in Syria.