By Elise Labott
Key meetings this week on Syria will try to figure out how the Obama administration can help moderate heavy rebel casualties and stem opposition defections to radical groups as the prospect for a political solution to the civil war grows dim.
Recent gains by the regime in Qusayr and its ongoing offensive to retake areas of Aleppo - all with the help of Hezbollah fighters - has created an urgency in the administration to act before President Barack Obama's stated policy objective of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is lost.
"It's really bad but whether this is fatal, we don't' know," one senior administration official said of recent gains by regime forces. "There is a recognition that unless we provide help, a lot of help, the situation is going to be very, very terrible."