DAMASCUS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army is poised to wrest back control of an area that has been overrun by the rebels in the northern province of Aleppo, a pro-government paper said Thursday.
The Syrian troops cordoned the area some 15 km east of Aleppo, the paper said, adding that the army also managed to secure the nearby military factory and the surrounding areas.
The paper noted that the brigade in the area used to provide protection to nearby al-Nairab military airbase and the international airport of Aleppo but a large number of armed men had infiltrated large swathes of the area.
It said after the infiltration, army reinforcements were sent to cordon the area off and killed hundreds of armed men, adding that an army commander was killed along with a number of soldiers during the armed groups' attack.
Quoting an employee at the international airport of Aleppo, al- Watan said the airport was totally secure and the Syrian air force pounded the armed groups that attacked al-Nairab airbase.
In the capital Damascus, the army fought pitch battles with the armed men in the eastern suburb of Jobar.
In the restive suburb of Mlaiha, the air force struck armed groups' positions at the entrances of the area after the rebels broke a truce aiming to facilitate the return of displaced people to their homes.
The army also carried out a series of military operations in the central areas of Rastan, Qusair and Sultanieh among other areas in the central province of Homs.
Meanwhile, the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that as many as 200 people were killed Wednesday, 86 of them civilians.
The observatory reported clashes between the army and the Nusra Front fighters, an offshoot of al-Qaida, in several areas nationwide.
Also on Wednesday, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay put the overall death toll of Syria's 23-month-old crisis at nearly 70,000.