Syrian state TV: government forces advance in Aleppo

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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.