1. GAINING GROUND

    Syrian Rebels Shell Aleppo Airport

    Rebels from the "Tawheed Brigade" in Tal Rifaat, north of Aleppo, prepare to leave for battle against the Syrian army in Aleppo, early on August 2, 2012.  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the army was fighting for the nation's future as UN officials said the regime was using fighter jets against rebels armed with tanks.
AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI        (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GettyImages)

    Ahmad Gharabli, AFP / Getty Images

    Syrian rebels have all but seized an airport in Aleppo on Thursday after a weeklong battle for the country’s commercial capital, shelling the military airbase with captured heavy weapons and a goverment tank. Meanwhile, in the capital Damascus, troops reportedly executed at least 35 people, most of whom were unarmed civilians, according to residents and activist organizations. Sources told Reuters that President Obama issued a secret order earlier this year allowing the CIA to aid rebels in their fight to oust President Bashar al-Assad, though the U.S. government would not arm the opposition.

    Read it at Reuters