On Sunday, a 7.8 earthquake hit southern Turkey and Syria, resulting in widespread devastation and death in both countries. According to early estimates, thousands of people are dead and nearly ten thousand injured.
The earthquake struck multiple cities in Turkey, including Gaizantep, home to over two million people. In Gaizantep, things came to a near standstill, with rescue teams working tirelessly on recovery efforts.
Mohamad Shbeeb lives a mile from the city center in Gaizantep, which was destroyed by the earthquake. He told Strike Source, “The city center contained residential flats and a store. It is completely destroyed. I believe there’s people trapped under the rubble.”
The impact damaged critical infrastructure in the city. At the time of this interview, Shbeeb is still feeling aftershocks from the quake. “In my apartment, there’s no water or internet. The electric was gone for several hours then returned.”
In addition, there are community-driven relief efforts underway. The following screenshot shows how many people in Turkey are donating critical supplies and aid to the Gökkubbe Fair and Congress Center in Isparta, Turkey, which is in the western part of the country.
Mohammad Saeed, in Idlib, Syria, has been documenting the impact of the earthquake. Saeed told Strike Source, “The destruction is very great. Neighborhoods are on the ground. Children and women are in the streets.”
Saeed also shared a video with Strike Source that he took of the devastation.
Mahmood Talha, who also lives in Syria, told Strike Source, “The number of dead in northwest Syria has reached 480, while the number of wounded has exceeded a thousand.”
He also pointed out how the infrastructure is worse than it was previously because of bombings by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Russian Forces. “As a result of the fragile infrastructure and bombing by the Russian and Assad forces, the damage was great because many buildings were cracked due to the bombing.”
Talha also shared a video of some of those who lost their lives from the earthquake, covered in blankets or sheets, which Strike Source chose not to publish.
He says that they don’t have the supplies or tools to perform an effective recovery effort in the city.
With reports about the devastation from the earthquake continuing to come in, the number of dead and wounded is likely much higher. Areas in Turkey impacted by the earthquake will see international support in their recovery efforts. However, cities like Idlib, which remain strongholds for terrorist groups, will not have the resources to respond to the crisis, resulting in further poverty, displacement, and volatility in the region.