N'DJAMENA - Heavy fighting took place in eastern Chad on Saturday between government and rebel forces, with both armies claiming victory.
According to a provisional tally by the rebels, more than 300 government soldiers were killed and around 50 vehicles destroyed.
More than 200 government troops had also surrendered, the rebel commanders claimed.
The government also claimed victory, saying the rebels had retreated and government reinforcements were moving towards the area. It also said the government remained in control of Biltine, the town about 150km from the Sudanese border, near where the clashes took place.
The fighting is part of an offensive in recent weeks by rebel groups aiming to topple the government of Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno.
The clashes have forced the UN and aid agencies to reduce help to 200000 refugees who fled there from the neighbouring Sudanese province of Darfur and the 90000 Chadians displaced by the violence.
Both Chad and the neighbouring Central African Republic have been rocked by violence spilling over the border from Sudan's Darfur region in recent months, with both countries accusing Sudan of supporting the rebels on their soil. - Sapa-AP