Activists say Syrian rebels have swapped prisoners and dead fighters with government forces outside the northern city of Aleppo, which has seen some of the country's fiercest fighting in recent weeks.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says rebels released 25 prisoners and handed over 70 bodies to government forces in exchange for 12 prisoners and 11 bodies held by the government, in a deal arranged by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

Mamoun Khateeb, head of the activist media agency Shahba Press, said it was one of the largest swaps in recent memory between the two sides but said it did not point to any truce between them.