Death toll from earthquake in Turkey and Syria tops 1,300

Death toll from earthquake in Turkey and Syria tops 1,300

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In Afrin, a Syrian opposition-held city, rescue workers from the White Helmets response organization searched for people trapped in a collapsed building in the pre-dawn darkness. Only by torchlight did they pull out a man in a white vest and black pants from the wreckage and take him for medical treatment.

In the border town of Azaz – another rebel-held area – a rescue worker carried a child from a damaged building.

“It was like the apocalypse,” said Abdul Salam al Mahmoud, a Syrian contacted by Reuters from the city of Atreb.

In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss next steps, his office said.

Witnesses said people in Damascus and the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli ran into the streets and got into their cars to get away from their buildings in fear of collapse.

Footage on broadcaster CNNTurk showed the historic Gaziantep Castle was severely damaged.

A rescue worker enters a collapsed building, trying to identify a survivor trapped under the rubble, in the Turkish city of Malatya, in footage released by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

The rescuer can be heard saying, “What color are you wearing? Are you wearing pink? Please take care of yourself, I can’t see anything else.”

Worst earthquake since 1999

Erdogan said that 45 countries had offered to help with the search and rescue efforts.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Twitter that the United States was “seriously concerned” about the earthquake and was closely monitoring the events. “We stand ready to provide any and all assistance needed,” he added.

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