Syrian troops have been advancing with the help of intense Russian airstrikes
Syria's army is planning to attack Islamic State (IS) in their stronghold of Raqqa province, reports say.
President Bashar al Assad's forces have captured several positions from IS at the provincial border in the last two days, a military source claimed.
Advancing into Raqqa province would mean the troops re-establishing a foothold in the central northern region where they have had no presence since August 2014.
And the move would complicate any attempt by Saudi Arabia to send ground forces to the area to fight IS.
American-backed Kurdish militia are also battling IS in Raqqa province, after moving into the region from the northeast last year with help from US-led airstrikes.
Meanwhile, government forces have reportedly captured Tamopura, another village near Aleppo, as they tighten their grip around rebel-held parts of the country's biggest city.
Syrian troops have been advancing with the help of intense Russian airstrikes.
Moscow has denied it was bombing civilians but thousands have been fleeing the city towards the border with Turkey.
Turkish artillery have bombarded areas of Aleppo province in northern Syria controlled by Kurdish forces, it is claimed.
Shelling struck areas of Aleppo, including Minnigh, recently taken by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia from Islamist rebels.
Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its YPG militia to be part of the PKK which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.
Turkey's foreign minister says his country and Saudi Arabia may launch ground operations against IS in Syria.
Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia was "ready to send both jets and troops" to Turkey's Incirlik air base.
Mr Assad has vowed to retake the entire country but warned it could take a "long time", as international pressure grows for a ceasefire.
He said he supported peace talks, but that negotiations do "not mean that we stop fighting terrorism".
The Syrian leader's comments came after it was revealed a truce has been agreed for a "nationwide cessation" of violence in a week's time.
However, Islamic State, al Nusra and other terrorist groups will not be involved - and Russia has said it will continue its bombing campaign.