BEIRUT -- Syrian troops rushed dozens of tanks and reinforcements yesterday toward Aleppo, the country's strategically vital commercial capital, in a bid to crush a rebel advance that has spread to wide swaths of the sprawling city.

As five days of fighting in Aleppo intensified, and with rumors swirling of a final showdown there, Turkey sealed its borders to trucks but said refugees will be allowed through.

"We are expecting a big attack on Aleppo," Mohammed Saeed, an activist in the city told The Associated Press.

The rebels have made stunning advances in the past week, but the battle for control of Syria is far from over.

The escalating bloodshed prompted two more defections by diplomats yesterday: the envoy to Cyprus and her husband, the former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, according to the opposition Syrian National Council. -- AP

What LIers think of hot-button issues … Shirley ice rink … What's up on LI? Credit: Newsday

More money for clean water ... What LIers think of hot-button issues ... Jones Beach renovation ... Blue Angels arrive

What LIers think of hot-button issues … Shirley ice rink … What's up on LI? Credit: Newsday

More money for clean water ... What LIers think of hot-button issues ... Jones Beach renovation ... Blue Angels arrive

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