Syria’s pro-government troops have pushed opposition forces out of the Salaheddin district in Aleppo, Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV reported on Friday.
Some observers view the battle for Aleppo as a major watershed in the Syrian conflict which could decide the future of the armed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million people, has remained the hotspot of Syria’s civil conflict since last week, when pro-government forces launched a massive assault on the city in a colossal push to regain control of key territories across the country. The media proclaimed the fight for Aleppo "the mother of all battles."
The Salaheddin district in the southwestern part of the city has long remained the opposition’s stronghold in Syria’s economic capital and most populous city.
“The next fight will be for the al-Sukkari district,” the channel said, citing Syrian military sources.
Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that pro-government forces also took control of the al-Asilah and Bab al-Nasr districts.
Wassel Ayub, a rebel commander told AFP by phone the retreat was “tactical.”
“We have staged a tactical withdrawal from Salaheddin,” he said. “The district is completely empty of rebel fighters. Regime forces are now advancing into Salaheddin.”
Syria’s privately owned Al-Watan newspaper said the army controls only the main streets, and there may still be many rebels in the district's houses and side streets.
The paper said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are seeking to tighten the noose in the siege of Aleppo to prevent the opposition forces from fleeing the city or getting reinforcements from Turkey.
An Aleppo resident told RIA Novosti by phone that fighting has intensified around a military airfield close to the city’s international airport.
"The international airport is operating as normal, but getting there can be quite dangerous,” he said.
The Syrian conflict has claimed between 14,000 and 20,000 lives since March 2011, according to estimates by various opposition groups and the UN. The West is pushing for Assad’s ouster, while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in the country, claiming the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.