DAMASCUS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Syrian troops clashed Saturday with armed insurgent groups in three districts of the unrest-hit Aleppo province, leaving scores dead or injured, the state-run SANA news agency said.
The clashes erupted in Salahuddien, Sukarry, and Hamadanieh areas, SANA quoted an official source as saying.
The source said the authorities rounded up a number of the armed men.
In central Homs province, SANA said the government troops have clashed with armed groups in Rastan and Talbiseh areas, inflicting hefty tolls among them.
It said the armed men in those areas have terrorised residents and open fire indiscriminately on passers-by.
A pro-government Facebook page said the armed insurgents in Aleppo have tried to cut off the road to the Aleppo airport, adding that the authorities have responded back and rendered their attempt flat.
Meanwhile, SANA confirmed earlier reports that a number of Iranian Shiite pilgrims have been kidnapped Saturday by armed " terrorist" groups, adding that the authorities are handling the situation.
Earlier in the day, asource in the Iranian embassy confirmed the kidnapping of 48 Iranian pilgrims, who were snitched Saturday while en route to Damascus from the airport, according to the lebanese NBN TV.
Kidnapping of Shiite pilgrims in Syria has become common in recent days as the crisis in Syria has veered toward a sectarian rift between the majority Sunni people, the backbone of the anti- regime movement in Syria, and the ruling Alawitte elite, an offshoot of Shiism.
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that a total of 70 people have been killed so far Saturday, including 47 unarmed civilians.
It said the Saif al-Dawla neighbourhood in Aleppo is being violently bombarded by regime forces, adding that the initial reports indicate that buildings have collapsed in the neighbourhood as a result of the shelling.
It said the rebel fighters in the Furdous neighbourhood of Aleppo attacked and destroyed the neighbourhood representative's offices.
The Observatory said that violent clashes between rebel and regime forces are taking place in the Damascus suburb of Arbeen.
Meanwhile, Syrian army troops uncovered Saturday a mass grave in the Damascus suburb of Yalda, combining unidentified number of bodies that belong to civilians and army personnel.
The mass grave was dug up when the army entered the area earlier Saturday. The area had been controlled by the rebels over the past days.
An officer told Xinhua that the area is clean of rebels, adding that the displaced residents can start to get back home. Despite the officer's placating gunshots were audible in the surroundings of the area.
The capital Damascus and Aleppo, Syria's largest city, have been witnessing intense clashes lately in what appeared to be the death match between the conflicting side of Syria's 17-months unrest.
Iran warns against foreign military intervention in Syria: defense minister
TEHRAN, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi warned Saturday against the military intervention of foreign forces in Syria, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
If the foreign forces enter Syria, "for sure, there will be a big crisis in the region and definitely the losers of the ( potential) crisis will be the Westerners and the supporters of the Zionist regime (of Israel)," Vahidi was quoted as saying.Full story
Decisive battles intensifying in Syria key cities
DAMASCUS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Clashes have intensified overnight and after daybreak Saturday in Syria's both key cities, the capital Damascus and northern Aleppo province, in what appeared to be decisive battles between armed insurgent groups and government forces.
Sounds of incessant shelling and gunfire have striped the Damascus night of its calmness, as witnesses said the army has been cracking down on armed rebels, who were entrenched in populated areas of Tadamun, Dummar, Daf al-Shouk, Jobar and Arbeen.Full story
Syria denies rebels' control of state TV branch in Aleppo
DAMASCUS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian state TV on Saturday denied as "absolutely baseless" media reports circulated on Qatari and Saudi-run TVs that the rebels groups have taken control of the state-run media center in northern Aleppo province.
The Saudi-funded al-Arabyia TV said the so-called Free Syrian Army rebels have taken control of the media Center in Aleppo.Full story