Hundreds were killed and injured by a major earthquake of 7.7 degrees on the Richter scale that struck northern Syria and southern Turkey at early dawn today, the epicenter of the earthquake was in the northern Syrian Iskandaron strip currently under Turkish occupation, the earthquake (37.23 N; 37.02 E – 10 kilometers deep) was followed by another one of 6.4 degrees and several moderate tremors.
The Syrian Ministry of Health in its latest update reported that 237 people in Syria were killed and 639 were injured from the collapsing of dozens of buildings, especially in the northern and central Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Idlib, Hama, and hundreds were killed and injured in the Iskandaron strip (Hatay) and other Turkish provinces.
Syria is totally mobilized, the Syrian Red Cross, the cadres of the ministries of Health, Defense, Interior, the Students Union, civil defense, and all the public contracting companies are all on the ground helping with removing the rubble and extracting the victims from beneath in freezing temperature.
The mobilization started immediately after the earthquake and was expanded when Syrian President Bashar Assad headed an urgent cabinet meeting in which the situation has been initially assessed and instructions were given to facilitate all the needs of the people.
The ministerial meeting headed by President Assad instructed the Ministry of Water Resources to carry out an instant country-wide inspection of water dams, water reservoirs, and water pumps and to ensure the continuous supply of water, especially in the provinces affected by the earthquake.
Locals in Latakia spoke of large destruction and rumors of the seawater retreating caused the panic of a Tsunami which were soon refuted, an official in the Syrian National Seismic Center emphasized that the epicenter of the earthquake was inland and that no abnormal activity was recorded under the seabed.
All reports coming from Syria indicate that the above toll is still initial and there’s a large probability of it increasing after the removal of the rubble of the collapsed buildings.
The situation in Turkey is not better, the authorities there called for international aid with dozens of people reported killed and many more injured across the affected provinces.
The initial two earthquakes were very severe it was felt in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, in Amman in Jordan, and in southern Greece.
Dozens of further tremors are continuously registered by the seismic monitoring centers in Syria, Turkey, and in the region.
This is so far, and hopefully the last of its kind major earthquake within the current earthquake cycle, the cycle is repeated every 240 – 300 years as warned by Dr. Talal Ballani, Director General of the General Organization for Geology and Mineral Resources in November 2000, about the unstable Arab-African subversive fault that extends from the Iskenderun Strip in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea and then to the southern outskirts of the African continent with a length ranging between 3-4 thousand kilometers.
We’ve expanded more on this in our report:
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