Families wait through the rubble of buildings in Kahramanmaras, the quake’s epicentre after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s southeast, to rescue a newborn.
The combined death toll has risen above 5 000 for Turkey and Syria after the region’s strongest quake in nearly a century.
Syria longs for international aid amid earthquake devastation
The scale of the destruction in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit swaths of Turkey and Syria on Monday has been unprecedented, even for residents of the war-torn country.
On the Syrian side, the area affected by the 7.8-magnitude quake and its aftershocks is divided between government-controlled territory and the country’s last opposition-held pocket of land, encircled by Russian-backed government forces.
The sound of air raids is a regular occurrence for the estimated 4.5 million residents in the besieged enclave, but the roar of multiple buildings crumbling to the ground in unison was a new calamity.
Ismail Alabdullah, a volunteer with the White Helmets in Idlib governorate, said at least five residential buildings had collapsed in the village of Sarmada, where his team has been racing to find survivors for more than 30 hours.
Each apartment in the multistorey residential blocs “had a family living in it”, Alabdullah told Al Jazeera. “It will take us days, if not weeks, to reach the last person.”
At least 790 people were killed in Syria’s opposition-held northwest and 2 200 injured with the toll expected to rise, according to data collected by the White Helmets.
The rescue team, also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, has been shuttling its few available excavators from one town to the next to respond to countless pleas for help.
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