Syrian forces bombarded opposition-held districts in the northern city of Aleppo Monday (July 30th) for the third straight day, forcing some 200,000 civilians to flee, AFP reported.
Syria's official media SANA reported Sunday night that government-allied forces were "cleansing" the southwestern Salaheddine district of "terrorists".
Col. Abdel Jabbar al-Oqaidi, head of the Free Syrian Army military council in Aleppo, insisted government troops had "not progressed one metre".
Despite government bombardment by helicopter gunships and MiG fighter jets, opposition forces "launched a new assault from Salaheddine during the night, and we destroyed four tanks", al-Oqaidi told AFP.
Gen. Ferzat Abdel Nasser, an officer who defected, said the armed opposition seized the Anadan checkpoint northwest of Aleppo, granting them control of a direct route between the Turkish border and Syria's commercial capital.
Six government soldiers were killed during the 10-hour battle for the checkpoint, Nasser said, 25 were taken prisoner and four of his own men died.
The United Nations said Sunday that 200,000 people have fled the besieged city during the government's attack.
Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said in a statement that an unconfirmed number of people are still trapped in the city, which has a population of about 2.5 million.
"It is not known how many people remain trapped in places where fighting continues today," Amos said, noting she was "extremely concerned by the impact of shelling and use of tanks and other heavy weapons".
The latest violence followed reports of at least 125 killed on Sunday across the country, including 46 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.