Syria and Turkey earthquake: what we know so far

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Turkey’s border with Syria early Monday, killing dozens in both countries as the search for survivors continues

Scores of people have been killed in Turkey and Syria after a strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey on Monday.

The quake hit at 4:17am local time (01:17 GMT), and was felt in Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece and Israel.

The quake was centred about 32km (20 miles) from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital in the country’s south-east, and about 26km (16 miles) from the town of Nurdağı.

It was 17.7km (11 miles) deep, according to the US Geological Survey. A strong 6.7 temblor rumbled about 10 minutes later.

The number of casualties was emerging as the search for survivors continued early on Monday. At least 53 were dead in Turkey after the quake, Turkish officials said, according to AFP. Officials said 23 people died in the province of Malatya, 17 in Urfa, seven in Osmaniye, and six in Diyarbakir, although the toll threatened to climb much higher because of the heavy damage.

The governor of Turkey’s Sanliurfa province said 15 people had been killed and another 30 injured in the province in an interview with Turkish broadcaster Ayhan.

There were also reports of deaths in Syria. State media reported 42 people were killed in Aleppo after the earthquake, Reuters and AFP reported.

A source at a hospital in north Syria told AFP at least eight people had died “in the regions of Azaz and al-Bab,” adding that the number is likely to rise as search and rescue operations are ongoing.

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Turkish interior minister Suleymon Soylu said 10 cities had been affected by the quake. Speaking to reporters on Monday, the official said the cities of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir and Kilis had all suffered damage.

Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency said the earthquake was felt most intensely in the surrounding provinces of Kahramanmaraş, but was also strongly felt in Hatay, Adana, Osmaniye, Diyarbakır, Malatya and Şanlıurfa.

Members of the Syrian civil defence operating in rebel-held areas are claiming “tens of victims and people stuck under rubble” after the quake. The civil defence, known as the White Helmets, said in a post on Twitter that the volunteer group was working to rescue survivors.

There were reports of tremors felt in Lebanon, Greece, Syria, Israel and Cyprus.

Videos posted on social networks showed destroyed buildings in several cities in the south-east of the country.

Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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