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Activists: Insurgents Advance in Syria's Aleppo

Aleppo, Syria

Syrian rebels advanced into a second government-held neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo on Thursday, activists said, a claim denied by state TV.

The reported push into the Khaldiyeh neighborhood came a day after insurgents captured the eastern neighborhood of Rashideen from troops and pro-government gunmen.

Aleppo, the country's largest city and former commercial capital, has seen heavy fighting since rebels seized part of the city in 2012. The recent push into government-held parts of Aleppo comes as President Bashar Assad's forces have suffered a series of setbacks in recent months, including the loss of Idlib, a northwestern provincial capital, in March.

Aleppo-based activists Ahmad al-Ahmad and Bahaa Halaby said several factions entered Khaldiyeh, which has a large Kurdish community, early Thursday.

State TV denied the claims and aired a report from Khaldiyeh. It had earlier denied the capture of Rashideen without providing any proof.

State TV and the activists said Rashideen was relatively quiet Wednesday afternoon after heavy fighting overnight.

Al-Ahmad and Halaby said a fuel shortage in Aleppo and nearby villages has worsened in recent days after the Islamic State group, which controls much of Syria's oilfields, prevented tanker trucks from supplying rebel-held neighborhoods.

The IS group has battled both government forces and the insurgents, but in Aleppo the rebels say it is effectively helping the government by attacking their supply lines.