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Syrian Forces Said to Drive Deeper Into Rebel-Held Aleppo

He said that he was speaking from a makeshift medical clinic and that doctors were working in secret basement locations after being driven from hospitals. There were dozens of wounded and dead around him, including children, he added.

“My neighbors have died; they were brought here,” he said. “I couldn’t ask them, ‘Where is my family?’ ”

The latest round of fighting has killed at least 341 people, including 44 children, in rebel-held Aleppo, and 81 people, including 31 children, in government-held districts, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring organization based in Britain.

About half of the people fleeing east Aleppo are children, said Hanaa Singer, Unicef’s Syria representative, describing hard conditions in camps for the displaced in cold and muddy weather. During her recent visit, she said, more than 100 mortar rounds had fallen on government-held areas of Aleppo in a few days — killing a volunteer, Ahmed Tawfik, 24, an economics student, who had been working with displaced children — while heavy bombardment echoed constantly nearby in eastern Aleppo.

Children at the camp, she said, “shared stories of how they cowered for days and weeks in dark and damp basements in fear of the shelling in besieged east Aleppo.”

She added: “They shared their dark memories of destruction, and the smell of dead bodies under the rubble. They said they were happy to be outside, to enjoy the sun and feel the air. To be able to sing and to play. But they missed friends, fathers and elder brothers. They missed their schools. They missed their books, games, and one girl was missing her teddy bear.”

The growing chaos in Aleppo came as an attack suspected to have been carried out by Israel hit the Mezze air base, minutes from downtown Damascus, the Syrian capital, according to the Lebanese news channel Al Mayadeen, which showed pictures of the complex burning. The base has been critical to the government’s fight against rebels in nearby suburbs. It also houses a prison.

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