Inside Syria: Battle for Damascus

ABC News' Terry Moran makes a dangerous journey to Syria's embattled capital.
3:01 | 02/18/13

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Transcript for Inside Syria: Battle for Damascus
international call to action on the long, volatile battle inside syria, a battle that has so many repercussions for the united states. Today, a u.N. Panel declared it's time to bring charges, using those two powerful words, war crimes. And they say the crimes were committed not juy the government of president assad, but by his mysterious opposition, as well. So, as the battle rages closer to the capital of damascus, our terry moran has made the dangerous journey into the heart of the simmering conflict. He is in damascus itself. Reporter: The road from beirut to damascus. We drove into syria along this heavily guarded route -- checkpoint after checkpoint after checkpoint. It is now a lifeline, as damascus, the stronghold of the government of president bashar assad, becomes a city under siege. It is a dirty war, in a crucial country. Just look at the map. The kay use engulfing syria threatens to spill over into iraq on one side, israel and lebanon on the other. A nightmare scenario for the u.S. The united nations now estimates that 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting, though, no one really knows. A u.N. Commission today called for war crimes investigations of both sides. Assad's government, which has sought to crush the rebellion by any means necessary. And the rebels, many of whom are increasingly seen by ordinary syrians as war lords, gangsters and religious fanatics who regularly post videos of beheadings and other atrocities on youtube. Damascus is quiet tonight. Some light traffic. No one really walking around. 5 million people hunkered down, as thee war that is tearing their country apart has now arrived here, in fierce battles raging in the city's suburbs. Syria's many minorities live in terror of a jihadist takeover of their country. Before we came here, we visited christian refugees from syria who had fled to beirut. They said they were forced out of their villages by muslim fundamentalists -- ethnically cleansed. They supported the rebellion at first, but not now. They've lost their homes, their communities, their way of life. "We lived freely as christians," this man tells me, "putting up christmas trees and decorations, but now we are being targeted." A dirty war, no end in sight. We should let you know we've come to this country with the permission of the government who want the other side of the story told. But there's no doubt the rebellion here has changed. And ordinary syrians increasingly just want the fighting to stop and they dread the chaos that's been unleashed here. Bashar assad himself seems to know this. The man the u.S. Said must go told a group of visitors today, "we are sure we will win."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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