The opposition, Free Syrian Army (FSA) claimed control of around 60 percent of the city of Aleppo, Al Arabiya reported on Saturday.
After still continuing battles with the Syrian regime’s army, FSA was able to control buildings of radio and TV stations in the northern city; however it claimed its later retreat from inside the buildings as “tactical.”
Captain Hussam Abu Mohammed, who participated in the battles around the buildings, said that the army’s retreat from the buildings was “tactical,” after the regime’s army’s shelling the FSA from helicopters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel forces withdrew from the district of Izaa where the state television building is situated.
“Rebel forces planted explosives there, and regime forces shelled the area,” the Britain-based Observatory reported. “The rebels then withdrew from the area.”
According to state news agency SANA, “mercenary terrorist groups attacked civilians and the state TV building (in Aleppo), while the army defended it.”
FSA says it is now in control of the areas surrounding the media buildings.
Meanwhile, battles between FSA and the regime’s army are continuing. The Syrian Revolutionary Council said the regime’s army continued shelling a TV station building in Aleppo.
During the battles between FSA and the regime’s army, correspondents belonging to the Syrian National Council (SNC) reported that broadcasts from Syrian TV channels, one and two, have stopped.
SNC also reported of battles taking place in Salah al-Din and al-Furkan neighborhoods in Aleppo.
The Observatory said that clashes also raged in Saif al-Dawla district.
“Helicopters and fighter jets were seen overhead in Aleppo,” the watchdog added.
Abduljabir al-Kaidi, head of the military council of SNC in Aleppo, meanwhile, told Al Arabiya that the Syrian regime is using foreign fighters especially Iranians.
In the same time, FSA denounced opposition fighters executing regime elements, saying it was “outside the law.”
A YouTube video on July 31 showed rebels, not clear if they were FSA fighters, executing the regime’s gang-like militia, the Shabiha, with bullets in Aleppo, amid pro-FSA chants.
Clashes in Damascus
In Damascus, violent clashes broke out in the southern Tadamun neighborhood, scene of fighting a fortnight ago.
The army also shelled the neighborhood on Saturday morning, in what the Observatory described as “the most violent that the district has seen.”
Violence also broke out in the Jobar area of the capital, the monitoring group said, adding that violence had killed at least six people in Damascus province on Saturday.
The Observatory said at least 13 people were killed across Syria.
Qatar on Syria
Meanwhile, Qatar said on Saturday that any successor to Kofi Annan as international envoy for Syria must pursue a new strategy because of what it said was the failure of Annan's six-point peace plan.
“There must be a clear modification to this plan now because the issue of the six points is finished,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said. “None of them has been implemented.”
Annan said on Thursday he was stepping down as joint representative for the Arab League and United Nations on Syria.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned world powers that they must overcome their rivalries to put an end to what he described as a “proxy war” in Syria.