At least 1,600 people have been killed and many more injured after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and several aftershocks caused widespread destruction in Turkey and Syria.

According to the “White Helmets” group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, a further 221 people are also dead and 419 are injured in rebel-held parts of northern Syria.

Separately from this, the Syrian state news agency has said 371 people are dead, even though it is unconfirmed if this number is just in government-held areas.

Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he could not predict how much the death toll would rise as search and rescue efforts continued.

“Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts, although the winter season, cold weather, and the earthquake happening during the night make things more difficult,” he said.

Another report said Israel, has sent help to Syria, marking the first time it has ever sent troops to act publicly and officially in the country

Speaking at a news conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a request was made by the Assad regime.

He added that Israeli aid would be sent to Turkey as well.

Syrian officials have reported hundreds have been killed in the civil war-torn country, both in areas under Damascus’ control and in the opposition-held northwest.

Israel and Syria have been in a state of war for decades, with periods of ceasefire.

For a time, Israel helped Syrian rebels on the Golan Heights frontier, and in 2018 it worked with Jordan and the United States to evacuate Syrian “White Helmet” rescue workers and their families fleeing a government advance.

This was our international affairs editor Dominic Waghorn’s one-word response to the news.




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