BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad is visiting the city of Aleppo to take a first-hand look at the fighting between government forces and rebels and has ordered 30,000 more troops into the battle, a Lebanese paper said on Tuesday.

Al-Diyar newspaper, which is known for its pro-Assad stance, said the president had flown by helicopter at dawn from the presidential palace in Damascus to Aleppo.

It did not specify what day the trip started but said that Assad was still in Aleppo. The visit was decided on after reports that the situation in the city, Syria's largest and its commercial center, had become very serious.

" President Assad ordered units 5 and 6, estimated to be 30,000 soldiers and 2,000 personnel carriers, to move from Hama to Aleppo and to attack any occupied areas of Aleppo province from the Turkish border," it said.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the report. An employee of al-Diyar told Reuters it had a correspondent in the city. Syrian state media made no mention of any visit.

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