BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels pushed into a strategic neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo after days of heavy clashes, seizing control of at least part of the hilltop district and killing a pro-government cleric captured in the fighting, activists and state media said Saturday.
There were conflicting reports about the scale of the advance into the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood by rebel forces battling to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. But the gains marked the biggest shift in the front lines in the embattled city in months.
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a former commercial hub, has been a key battleground in the country’s civil war since rebels launched an offensive there in July, seizing several districts before the fighting largely settled into a bloody stalemate.
The Aleppo Media Center opposition group and Aleppo-based activist Mohammed Saeed said rebels seized full control of Sheikh Maqsoud late Friday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, said rebels took only the eastern part of the neighborhood, and reported heavy fighting there Saturday.