Clashes continue between Syrian troops and foreign - backed militants on the outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo following significant gains by the army against the armed groups.The clashes erupted near the Syrian Air Force intelligence building in the al-Layramun district on Wednesday when the militants were moving towards two major Shia villages of Nabul and Zahraa near Aleppo. Meanwhile, Syrian soldiers reportedly killed 62 militants linked to the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in an ambush near the town of Adra, east of the capital Damascus. They also seized the militants’ machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on July 25 that more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since the outbreak of foreign-sponsored militancy in the country. The militancy has also displaced a total of 7.8 million Syrians, more than 1.8 million of whom are living in neighboring countries, mainly in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.