Syrian troops regained control of the rebel-occupied Damascus neighbourhood of Midan today after heavy fighting.
More than 300 people had been reported killed the day before in a sharp escalation of the country's civil war.
Fighting has intensified over the past week as rebels closed in on the capital and had raged for days in Midan.
The rebels launched their most serious blow yet on Assad's inner circle, killing top aides in a bomb blast on Wednesday as they attended a security meeting.
National security chief General Hisham Ikhtiyar died today of his wounds - the fourth member of President Assad's inner circle killed by the bombing.
The fighting in Midan and several other districts has turned parts of Damascus into combat zones and sent thousands of Syrian families packed in cars streaming across the border into neighbouring Lebanon.
State TV said that the troops seized large quantities of weapons including machine guns, explosive belts, rocket-propelled grenades and communications equipment.
But rebels activists merely claimed that they had carried out a "tactical" retreat early today to spare civilians further shelling after five days of intense clashes between opposition fighters and regime forces.
Besides the fighting in Damascus, rebels took over a Syrian border crossing near the Iraqi town of Qaim on Thursday, said Iraqi army Brigadier General Qassim al-Dulaimi.
There are four major border posts with Iraq.
In addition, rebels took over the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, although it appears that it was later retaken by the Syrian army.
Turkey has temporarily closed the border gate "for security reasons."
Thousands of Iraqis living in Syria have poured through a major border crossing back to Iraq despite fighting near the borders, fleeing increasing violence against Iraqi refugees.
The UN refugee agency reported that unknown gunmen had murdered an Iraqi refugee family of seven in their Damascus apartment today.
Some 88,000 Iraqis are registered as refugees in Syria, along with about 8,000 refugees from other countries.
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