Amid International Solidarity: A Devastating Earthquake Hits Turkiye and Syria, Leaving Thousands Dead and Injured | Hashtag

Murad Jandali | a year ago




An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck the Turkish and Syrian lands in the early hours of Monday morning, February 6, 2023, leaving hundreds dead and thousands injured in both countries, in addition to the collapse of thousands of buildings, the siege of hundreds under the rubble, and the exit of residents to the snow-covered streets.

 The real material and human damage that resulted from the devastating earthquake was not fully shown, while it was felt by the residents of neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt.

According to preliminary figures, so far, a total of 1,504 people have died in both countries as a result of the earthquake.

In turn, the Turkish authorities announced the fourth degree of alert, which means a request for international assistance, as the Turkish army contributes to the transfer of medical teams to the affected areas.

On the other hand, a number of countries offered their condolences to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Syria, Turkiye, and neighboring countries and also announced extending a helping hand to help the two countries.

This tremor is the largest in Turkiye, which is located in an area experiencing seismic activity that is among the highest in the world since the August 17, 1999 earthquake that killed 17,000 people, including a thousand in Istanbul.

In late November, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck northwest Turkiye, leaving about 50 injured and causing limited damage, according to Turkish ambulance services.

In October 2020, a 7-magnitude earthquake struck the Aegean Sea, killing 114 people and injuring more than a thousand others.

In January 2020, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit Elazig, killing more than 40 people.



According to a preliminary toll, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that 912 people were killed and 5,385 injured in the earthquake that struck the south of the country, while the number of those recovered from under the rubble reached 2,470, and the number of collapsed buildings reached 2,818.

Turkish Vice President Fuad Oktay also announced the closure of the airports of Hatay, Kahramanmaras, and Gaziantep, adding that several countries offered to send aid, giving priority to medical support.

Sources reported that the Turkish states witnessed more than 66 aftershocks after the earthquake, and more than 10 states in Turkiye were affected by the violent earthquake.

The German Center for Geosciences Research said that the earthquake occurred at a depth of ten km near the city of Kahramanmaras in southern Turkiye, while the European Mediterranean Center for Seismology said that it is assessing the possibility of a giant tsunami.



As for what resulted from the earthquake in the areas controlled by the Syrian regime, official media said that a large number of buildings collapsed in the governorates of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia.

The Syrian government of the Assad regime announced the death of 326 people and the injury of more than 1,024 others in the country as a result of the strong earthquake that occurred at dawn today, with its epicenter in southern Turkiye.

In turn, the Director General of the Syrian National Center for Seismology, Raed Ahmed, explained that Syria was affected by the earthquake in general in its various regions, while the areas near the epicenter in Idlib, Latakia, and Aleppo were most affected.

Ahmed indicated that aftershocks have occurred and will occur successively, but they are much weaker than the strength of the earthquake that occurred, indicating that the citizens who came down from their homes to the roads can return to their homes if they are not cracked because all subsequent aftershocks are weaker in intensity.

He pointed out that this earthquake is the strongest since 1995, explaining that the state of seismic instability will continue, but with weaker tremors and within the limits of 5 degrees.

As a result of the earthquake that shook Turkiye, the opposition-controlled areas in northwestern Syria experienced 42 aftershocks, which led to human damage that no medical authority has yet accurately counted, in addition to significant material damage.

Hours after the earthquakes occurred, the Syrian Civil Defense team, the Syrian Interim Government, and the Syrian Opposition Coalition declared a completely disaster-stricken area in northern Syria.

They pointed out that hundreds of people were killed, injured, and trapped under the rubble due to the lack of facilities and services, the stormy and snowy weather conditions, and the low temperatures.

The Syrian Civil Defense said that the number of documented victims has risen to 221 in cities and towns in northwestern Syria.

It pointed out that the number of deaths is likely to increase dramatically due to the presence of hundreds of families who are still under the rubble of the destroyed buildings as a result of the earthquake and that its teams are continuing their response operations and rescuing the stranded.


International Solidarity

Within the framework of international reactions, several Western and Arab countries announced their readiness to provide support to Syria and Turkiye after they were hit by an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale.

In the same context, the European Union announced, in a statement, the mobilization of ten rescue and search teams from Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania to assist in rescue operations, in addition to activating the European Union’s satellite system to provide emergency mapping services.

The United States, Ukraine, “Israel,” the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, France, Sweden, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and Iran have already offered assistance to the victims of the disaster.

In a tweet, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that the United States is very concerned about today’s devastating earthquake. “We stand ready to provide any assistance needed.”

On his part, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the United Kingdom is ready to provide assistance in any way possible.

Meanwhile, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra confirmed that his country will send a search and rescue team to Turkiye.

Neighboring Greece has also offered to send immediate aid to support rescue efforts. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, “Greece is mobilizing its resources and will help immediately. We are deeply saddened by the devastating earthquake disaster.”

The Israeli Occupation’s President Isaac Herzog also offered help, saying, “Israel is always ready to send aid in any way possible.”



Social media activists circulated a controversial tweet by a Dutch researcher who predicted a few days ago the earthquake in Turkiye and mentioned the countries that will be affected by the earthquake.

The Dutch expert and researcher in earthquake affairs, Frank Hoogerbeets, tweeted on his account an accurate prediction of the earthquake in Turkiye 3 days before it occurred, and mentioned the countries that would be affected by the earthquake.

On February 3, 2023, that is 3 days ago, Hoogerbeets reported that an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 degrees would occur in the region (south-central Turkiye, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon).

On its part, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has estimated that there is a 47% chance that the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkiye and Syria could be as high as 10,000.

The USGS estimates come from modeling that assesses earthquake impact by comparing the population exposed to each level of shaking intensity with mortality losses based on previous earthquakes that hit the area.

In turn, search and rescue engineer Mark Scorer warned, speaking to Sky News, that aftershocks in Turkiye and Syria may continue for days or even weeks after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck this morning.

Scorer said the next seven days will be crucial to finding life in the rubble.

He added that teams would have to be aware of aftershocks at any moment, with the potential for more building collapses if that occurred.