Syrian government troops have reportedly made significant gains in the battle for rebel-held areas in the northern city of Aleppo.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, government forces have captured crucial farmland on the city’s north-eastern outskirts.
The Observatory says they are now in control of the half the Mallah farms, which form the only gateway leading to rebel-held parts of the city.
It follows months of heavy fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad and opposition rebels for control of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and former commercial centre.
Footage released by the government controlled Syrian Central Military Media (SCMM) purports to show heavy mortars, rocket launchers, airstrikes and tank fire pounding opposition targets in the area.
The footage, which can not be independently verified, then shows an advance of ground troops.
According to the Beirut-based Pan Arab TV Al-Mayadeen, government forces will now be able to fire upon and attempt to close the strategic Castello road that links rebel-held parts of Aleppo with the rest of the country.