Syria conflict: Assad forces claim advance in Aleppo
Syrian state media say government forces have taken full control of a strategic district in the biggest city, Aleppo, after fierce fighting.
Rebel commanders denied they had retreated from the Salah al-Din district, amid reports of a push by army tanks and armoured vehicles.
Video has emerged of buildings reduced to rubble, said to have been filmed after a bombardment near Aleppo.
The use of heavy weapons has been condemned by Amnesty International.
Activists say shellfire killed at least 12 people in Aleppo on Wednesday, in a report which could not be confirmed independently.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 225 people were killed across Syria on Tuesday alone. Its toll includes 129 civilians, 50 rebels and 46 soldiers.
In other developments
Riad Hijab, who quit as Syrian prime minister this week and defected to the opposition, is currently in Jordan, the foreign ministry there confirmed Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to call for outside military intervention in Syria, similar to the operation he authorised in Libya while in office last year Iran's foreign minister said a group of 48 Iranians abducted by rebels in Syria on Saturday included a number of retired Revolutionary Guards and soldiers but denied they played any active military role Early reports suggested rebels had killed a named Russian general working as an adviser to Syria's defence ministry, but the general turned out to be alive and well in Moscow King Abdullah of Jordan suggested Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might try to create an enclave for his Alawite Muslim sect if he loses control of the country ‘Tank attack’
State media said government forces had taken full control of Salah al-Din, killing most of the rebels there.
They also reported heavy rebel losses near the historic citadel and in another district.
Both government and opposition are reporting more shelling and clashes in Aleppo, where regime forces are trying to drive rebel fighters out of quarters they have taken over.
Activists say more than 40 people were killed in the city on Tuesday, mainly from bombardments by government forces.
Some of the worst-hit areas, especially the Salah al-Din quarter, have been heavily battered for many days now, and the destruction is huge, but armed rebels have managed to cling on there.
State television reported clashes in several areas, with heavy losses inflicted on what it called "armed terrorist groups", and it said government forces had repelled an attack by the rebels on the historic citadel in the old city centre.
A commander from the rebel Free Syria Army denied reports that it had withdrawn from Salah al-Din.
Speaking by phone to BBC Arabic TV, Col Malek Kurdi said fighters were conducting "guerrilla war operations" against troops.
However, a team of Reuters news agency journalists who tried to enter Salah al-Din on Wednesday found a checkpoint manned by rebel fighters this week had disappeared.
They were told by a lone rebel fighter that the rebels had abandoned their positions there. Explosions could be heard as incoming gunfire hit buildings in the area, the Reuters team said.
FSA commander Wassel Ayub told AFP news agency that government tanks and armoured vehicles had encountered "fierce fighting" in Salah al-Din.
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