Europe

Syrian state TV: government forces advance in Aleppo

  • In this photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, Syrians carry a victim after airstrikes by government helicopters on the rebel-held Aleppo neighborhood of Mashhad, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016. With diplomacy in tatters and a month left to go before U.S. elections, the Syrian government and its Russian allies are using the time to try and recapture the northern city of Aleppo, mobilizing pro-government militias in the Old City and pressing ahead with the most destructive aerial campaign of the past five years. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

    In this photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, Syrians carry a victim after airstrikes by government helicopters on the rebel-held Aleppo neighborhood of Mashhad, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016. With diplomacy in tatters and a month left to go before U.S. elections, the Syrian government and its Russian allies are using the time to try and recapture the northern city of Aleppo, mobilizing pro-government militias in the Old City and pressing ahead with the most destructive aerial campaign of the past five years. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, Syrians inspect damaged buildings after airstrikes by government helicopters on the rebel-held Aleppo neighborhood of Mashhad, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016. With diplomacy in tatters and a month left to go before U.S. elections, the Syrian government and its Russian allies are using the time to try and recapture the northern city of Aleppo, mobilizing pro-government militias in the Old City and pressing ahead with the most destructive aerial campaign of the past five years. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

    In this photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, Syrians inspect damaged buildings after airstrikes by government helicopters on the rebel-held Aleppo neighborhood of Mashhad, Syria, Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016. With diplomacy in tatters and a month left to go before U.S. elections, the Syrian government and its Russian allies are using the time to try and recapture the northern city of Aleppo, mobilizing pro-government militias in the Old City and pressing ahead with the most destructive aerial campaign of the past five years. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian government forces captured a central rebel-held neighborhood in Aleppo.

    Syrian government forces captured a central rebel-held neighborhood in Aleppo.  (The Associated Press)

Syrian state TV is reporting that government forces are advancing in the old quarter of the northern city of Aleppo and have captured several buildings.

The station said Tuesday troops are now advancing toward the central rebel-held neighborhood of Farafra.

The contested old quarter of Aleppo is home to the Umayyad Mosque, a UNESCO world heritage site and centerpiece of Aleppo's walled Old City. The 11th-century minaret of the famed mosque collapsed in April 2013 during fighting.

The offensive comes after days of intense airstrikes on rebel-held eastern parts of the city, during which scores of people were killed and a number of buildings demolished.

Over the weekend, government forces captured the Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat north of the city but rebels regained control of it hours later.