Rebels have liberated the town of Khanaser, a vital center for pro-Assad militia in the Aleppo countryside, activists reported.
The head of the National Defense Forces (NDF) in Aleppo city was killed along with 50 other soldiers on Sunday morning during clashes between the NDF, alongside regular army forces and rebel fighters in Khanaser.
The town lies on a strategic route connecting defense facilities in Hama and Aleppo countryside.
A statement issued by the Ahrar al-Sham brigade confirmed that more than 70% of the town had been taken as part of the battle in which ten brigades took part.
Rebels captured several villages in Aleppo province in recent days, much of which is already in the hands of anti-regime fighters.
The pro-government daily Al-Watan confirmed on Monday that rebels had cut the route, reporting that it was the "only transport route" between the two provinces, since Aleppo International Airport was closed in January because of the intense fighting in the area.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer