Syria and Turkey united in massive 7.8 earthquake
At least 780 are dead in Syria, with another 2,300 injured according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) after a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck at 4:17 am local time today.
Published: February 8, 2023, 8:16 am
The epicenter was near Gaziantep, Turkey on the Syrian border. After shocks began almost immediately with a powerful 6.7 quake eleven minutes after the initial 7.8 jolt.
Deaths have been reported in the Syrian regions of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia, with Tartus having been impacted by the quake, according to SANA.
An eight-story building collapsed in Syria’s Hama province, SANA reported, citing the Hama Fire Brigade. Multiple buildings were also reported to have collapsed in the port city of Latakia, and the city of Aleppo, SANA said.
The Red Crescent in both Turkey and Syria have both asked people to donate blood after the powerful quake. Churches and Mosques in Syria have opened their doors to the homeless.
In Turkey, initial reports are of at least 1 500 dead, with more than 8 550 injured, according to the Turkish media. At least 10 provinces across southeastern Turkey have been impacted by the earthquake, with 3 800 buildings collapsed.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said Monday it recorded seven quakes with a magnitude above 5. The strongest aftershock so far was recorded at 1:30 pm Monday and had a magnitude of 7.5.
Strong aftershocks are likely to continue in the hours and even days to come after an earthquake as strong as this one, according to meteorologists.
The Syrian Ministry of Defense in Damascus said in a statement it is “mobilizing all its units, formations and institutions in all governorates to provide immediate aid and urgent assistance to the residents affected by the earthquake, search for people trapped under the rubble, and to treat the injured.”
Shaking from the quake could be felt up to 300 kilometers away (186 miles) from the epicenter.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the border between Turkey and Syria is tied as the strongest the country has experienced in more than 100 years of records, according to the USGS.
An equally powerful 7.8 magnitude quake that hit eastern Turkey in 1939 resulted in more than 30,000 deaths.
Turkey has experienced seven quakes with magnitude 7.0 or greater in the past 25 years, but Monday’s is the most powerful. It is also the strongest quake to hit anywhere in the world since an 8.1 magnitude quake struck a remote region in the southern Atlantic Ocean in 2021.
Karl Lang, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech University’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, told CNN, “It’s a seismogenic area. It’s a very large fault zone, but this is a larger earthquake than they’ve experienced any time in recent memory.”
“The magnitude of shaking that is felt on the surface is both a function of the amount of energy released, the size of the earthquake, but also how far that energy is released below the surface. So if it is very close to the surface, if it is a shallow earthquake, then it can be very dangerous,” said Lang.
“What’s really unusual here is that it’s a very large earthquake that is also close to the surface,” Lang said.
Residents in Latakia reported, “It felt like it would never be over.” The quake brought on a three-minute rolling movement in which high towering housing units swayed, causing residents to pour into the streets in their pajamas. The coast of Syria is experiencing a very cold rainstorm which began before the quake and has not let up.
With several inches of snow on the ground in Gaziantep, residents waited outside in the rain for about 30 minutes before he could go back inside to grab coats and boots.
Frank Hoogerbeets, CEO and President at Solar System Geometry Survey, made a prediction of this earthquake in a YouTube video on February 2. After his prediction came true, he wrote: “As I stated earlier, sooner or later this would happen in this region, similar to the years 115 and 526. These earthquakes are always preceded by critical planetary geometry, as we had on 4-5 Feb.”
World leaders forgot the Syrian people
In times of natural disasters, it is to be expected for world leaders to extend condolences and offers of help.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted, “I have been in touch with Turkish officials to relay that we stand ready to provide any & all needed assistance. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye.” What about Syria? The Syrian people are suffering as well, but they don’t get mentioned.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted, “We stand with the people of Turkey in this difficult time.” No mention of the Syrians suffering.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “India stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey.” No mention of Syria.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sent his condolences to the people of both Turkey and Syria in a series of tweets. The Syrian people deserve mention.
Countries who have offered help to Syria are: China, Russia, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Iraq, Algeria, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Bahrain.
Idlib and the White Helmets
The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said its hospitals in Syria “are overwhelmed with patients filling the hallways.” This news from CNN would lead you to believe that SAMS has hospitals serving Syrians in need all over. The fact is, SAMS is strictly serving the medical needs of the approximately three million residents of Idlib province, which is the only area in Syria under the occupation of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the former Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
SAMS’ president Dr. Amjad Rass said the organization has been receiving victims and working to guarantee the wellbeing of more than 1,700 staff in Syria and 90 in Gaziantep, Turkey, according to CNN. The fact is, the 1,700 staff he mentions are in Idlib alone, and the 90 are not in Syria at all, but in Turkey.
SAMS is a medical charity located in the US and was founded during the Obama administration’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its charities during the US-NATO attack on Syria for regime change, which failed.
The “White Helmets” group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense, also said there were dozens of victims and hundreds trapped under the rubble in the Idlib region, according to CNN. The fact is, the White Helmets are an award-winning video troupe founded by a British former secret agent, and they are not known as the Syria Civil Defense locally, as that unit is the Fire Department in Syria and is found across the country in every city and administered from Damascus, not Hollywood.
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist
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