Free Syrian Army members shout slogans as they prepare to move into Aleppo's district of Salah Edinne
Rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Aleppo promised on Friday they will hit back after losing ground under heavy bombardment, and residents fled in cars crammed with belongings during a lull in fighting.
The rebels were pushed back from the Salaheddine district on Thursday by troops seeking to re-establish control over Aleppo, which is Syria's largest city and economic hub, reports Reuters.
"I have about 60 men positioned strategically at the front line and we are preparing a new attack today," said Abu Jamil, a rebel commander, saying sniper fire in Salaheddine had prevented his men from retrieving a comrade's body for two days.
Reuters journalists saw residents streaming out of Aleppo, seizing on a calm spell to pack vehicles with mattresses, fridges and toys. At least two air force planes and one drone flew overhead. Random shooting echoed from inside Salaheddine, a former rebel stronghold that controls access from the south.
Some residents of the shattered neighbourhood slipped back to try to salvage possessions, despite army snipers lurking there. Two civilians were hit by gunfire in nearby streets.
One, apparently shot in the buttocks, was dragged off the street by rebels and treated by medics before being taken to a field clinic. A second man was wounded in the back and arm. Blood soaked through the sleeve of his yellow jacket and his face was contorted in pain as rescuers put him in a vehicle.
In an apparent effort to project an air of normalcy, state television screened footage dated August 10 of a calm Aleppo, including images of its ancient citadel - U.N. World Heritage site - and cars flowing freely around a traffic circle.
In Damascus, residents reported shelling of the south-eastern district of Shebaa and said nine tanks could be seen on the road heading out to the airport.
Assad seeks to crush a rebellion against his family's 42 year rule of the pivotal Arab state. A member of Syria's Alawite minority, he is engaged in an all-consuming fight with mostly Sunni Muslim foes who are backed by Sunni-led states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.