DAMASCUS, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government reinforced Thursday military units in the battered northern province of Aleppo, a recent hotspot of armed confrontation between Western- backed armed rebels and government forces.
The pan-Arab Mayadeen TV cited sources in Aleppo as saying that military reinforcements have arrived Thursday in Aleppo, adding that "the atmosphere indicates a different battle than before."
Meanwhile, an amateur video posted online showing military tanks heading toward Aleppo from the direction of northern Idlib province.
The state-run SANA news agency said the Syrian troops have hunted down an armed group near the town of Qanater in Aleppo's countryside Thursday, leaving the armed men killed or injured.
The state agency said the government forces have killed a number of "terrorists" with foreign nationalities in Aleppo.
In the town of Hajeb, also in Aleppo's countryside, SANA said the competent authorities have tracked down an armed group that was committing killing, robbery and booby-trapping buildings. Dozens of the group members were killed.
Meanwhile, British Guardian newspaper quoted a rebel leader in Aleppo as saying that the "government forces used MIG-21 jets and artillery mortars" to bombard neighborhoods in the northeastern part of Aleppo, including the districts of Hanano, Sakhur and Hamadaniyah.
The rebel leader said other rebel strongholds in the southwest have also been under heavy fire, including Salahaddine, Hamadaniyah, Al-Sukari and Bustan al-Qaser, adding that the rebels ' Free Syrian Army attacked the Menagh military airbase with tanks seized from the regular army and the attack caused significant damage to the base, according to Guardian.
In the meantime, opposition activist group Local Coordination Committees said a number of suburbs of the capital Damascus were subject Thursday to chaos and clashes between rebels and the government troops.
It said at least 41 people were killed Thursday nationwide. The activists' report could not be verified independently.
The Aleppo clashes have been flaring up since last week, when leaders of insurgent groups announced their operation to "liberate Aleppo," Syria's economic hub, after being dispelled from the capital by the government forces.
The clashes in Aleppo are gaining momentum, in part due to the province's location near the Turkish borders, which have recently turned into a smuggling route for weapons and foreign fighters seeking to wage "Jihad" in Syria.
The UN Supervision Mission in Syria said it is deeply concerned about the situation in Aleppo, confirming that the armed rebels, for the first time, are in possession of heavy weapons including tanks.
The recent reports by the NBC about the fighting in Aleppo indicated that the rebels have acquired surface-to-air missiles from Turkey, whose prime minister has recently said that Syrians " will soon be freed from the regime with blood on its hands."
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Ministry on Thursday accused Turkey of setting up intelligence apparatus to direct the armed groups.
In a letter sent to the United Nations, the ministry also accused the United States and France of supporting the armed opposition on ground. It said the two countries have sent communication devices to the "terrorists to continue crimes against the Syrian people."
Meanwhile, Reuters quoted sources as saying that U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a secret order to authorize U.S. support for Syrian rebels, which could help the rebels oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
While the Syrian political and military landscape is getting further complicated, Kofi Annan resigned Thursday as UN-Arab League joint envoy for Syria due to the escalating violence that has killed more than 12,000 people since last year.