As Syrian forces prepare for an assault on rebels in Aleppo, President Obama moved cautiously to help the country's opposition members. A lot has changed since the president’s first year in office, when he penned a letter to Bashar al-Assad with the hope that the two could reboot the U.S.–Syria relationship. According to Reuters, a presidential directive has reportedly been drafted that would authorize covert assistance for rebels without providing them arms. It is unknown whether President Obama has signed the directive, but his administration has made clear that it plans to help those seeking to oust al-Assad by providing rebels with communications equipment as well as intelligence on al-Assad's location.
OPPOSITION Pierre Torres, AFP / Getty Images