February 6, 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake news

By Tara Subramaniam, Rhea Mogul, Adam Renton, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT) February 7, 2023
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4:20 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Centuries-old Gaziantep Castle heavily damaged after quake

From CNN's Yusuf Gezer

The historical Gaziantep Castle heavily damaged after the earthquake on February 6.
The historical Gaziantep Castle heavily damaged after the earthquake on February 6. (Mehmet Akif Parlak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Turkey's centuries-old Gaziantep Castle has been heavily damaged after a powerful earthquake and aftershocks rocked the country's south on Monday morning. 

"Some of the bastions in the east, south and southeast parts of the historical Gaziantep Castle in the central Şahinbey district were destroyed by the earthquake, the debris was scattered on the road," Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu reported. 
"The iron railings around the castle were scattered on the surrounding sidewalks. The retaining wall next to the castle also collapsed. In some bastions, large cracks were observed." 

The dome and eastern wall of the historical Şirvani Mosque, which is located next to the castle and is said to have been built in the 17th century, also partially collapsed, it added. 

According to archaeological excavations, the castle was first built as a watchtower in the Roman period in II-IV centuries A.D and expanded over time.

It took its current form in between 527-565 A.D. during the period of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, according to Turkish Museums, the official site of museums and archaeological sites in the country. 

CORRECTION: This post has been updated after an earlier version misidentified Gaziantep Castle's heritage status.

3:19 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

USGS estimates fatalities from Turkey quake could be as high as 10,000

From CNN's Brandon Miller and Alex Stambaugh

The death toll from the powerful earthquake that hit southern Turkey early Monday could reach as high as 10,000 people, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

According to its estimates, USGS said there is a 47% chance of it reaching between 1,000 to 10,000 people, whereas there is a 27% chance of it reaching between 100 and 1,000 and a 20% chance of it reaching between 10,000 and 100,000. 

The USGS estimates come from modeling based on historical earthquakes in the region, the population exposed to the heaviest shaking, and the vulnerability of the structures in the hardest hit zones.

"High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread," the USGS said in the report.
"The population in this region resides in structures that are extremely vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist."

The report also estimates economic losses will likely be between $1 billion to $10 billion, which could reach up to 2% of Turkey’s GDP.

So far, more than 500 people have been confirmed dead and some 3,000 others injured in Turkey and Syria, according to officials and state media.

3:46 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Sub-zero temperatures and snow are likely to hamper rescue efforts

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Rescue teams pull the wounded people out of the wreckage of the collapsed building in Gaziantep, Turkey, on February 6.
Rescue teams pull the wounded people out of the wreckage of the collapsed building in Gaziantep, Turkey, on February 6. (Adsiz Gunebakan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

With a cold and wet weather system moving through the region, poor conditions are likely to impact the post-earthquake rescue and recovery efforts in southern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday, according to CNN meteorologists.

Temperatures just above the freezing mark are occurring in Turkey's Gaziantep province, with rain and snow showers forecast on both Monday and Tuesday.

Even though early February falls within the coldest part of the year, the current temperatures are even colder than average, running about 5 degrees Celsius (about 9 degrees Fahrenheit) below seasonal norms.

And the weather is about to get colder: Temperatures will drop below freezing by Tuesday, with the low in Gaziantep falling to -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit).

Snow showers will become more widespread later on Monday and lasting through Tuesday. The snow will be heaviest in the higher elevations, but could fall all the way down to the border with Syria.

Despite the conditions, officials have asked residents to leave their buildings their safety, as additional aftershocks are expected following Monday's 7.8 quake.

However, "that’s a pretty difficult ask considering that the weather at the time is right around freezing," CNN's Scott McLean reports. "It’s very difficult to be outside in your pajamas for long periods of time without coats, without supplies.”
2:49 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Netherlands sending search and rescue team to Turkey

From CNN's Mick Krever

The Netherlands will send a search and rescue team to Turkey to assist in the response to the earthquake that has left hundreds dead, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Monday.

“This team includes police and military personnel, first aid responders, and firefighters,” Hoekstra said on Twitter. “Shocked by the news of the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and the many injured Turks and Syrians.”

Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) earlier called on the international community for help with search and rescue efforts.

2:40 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

World leaders extend condolences and offer help after deadly Turkey quake

From CNN's Maria Kostenko, Vedika Sud and Colin McCullough

Messages of condolences and support poured in Monday as world leaders woke to the news of the deadly earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky extended his condolences to the victims on Twitter and offered assistance. "We stand with the people of Turkey in this difficult time. We are ready to provide the necessary assistance to overcome the consequences of the disaster," Zelensky said.
  • On Twitter, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "Anguished by the loss of lives and damage of property" from the quake. "India stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey and is ready to offer all possible assistance to cope with this tragedy," he said.
  • Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sent his condolences to the people of both Turkey and Syria in a series of tweets. The total death toll across the two countries following the earthquake stands at more than 500. 
  • Israel's President Isaac Herzog tweeted: "The State of Israel always stands ready to assist in every way possible. Our hearts are with the grieving families and the Turkish people at this painful moment."
  • White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States was “profoundly concerned” about the destruction in Syria and Turkey. “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,” Sullivan wrote on Twitter.
  • The US diplomatic mission in Turkey also expressed “deep sorrow for the tragic casualties and extensive damage caused by the earthquake” in a tweet.
2:24 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Death toll from powerful Turkey quake rises to more than 500

From CNN's Isil Sariyuce in Istanbul 

People search a collapsed building following an earthquake in Syria, on February 6.
People search a collapsed building following an earthquake in Syria, on February 6. (Ghaith Alsayed/AP)

More than 500 people have been killed in two countries after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southern Turkey early Monday.

At least 284 people have died and more than 2,300 were injured in Turkey, according to the country's Vice President Fuat Oktay. 

In Syria, at least 237 people were killed and 639 injured, Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported, citing a Health Ministry official. 

The total death toll across Turkey and Syria is now at least 521. 

The quake is one of the strongest to hit Turkey in more than 100 years and sent tremors across the region, collapsing buildings and sending residents running into the streets.

More than 1,700 buildings were damaged across 10 Turkish cities, the Turkish vice president said. 

2:06 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Hospitals overwhelmed after deadly quake, Syrian American Medical Society says

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said its hospitals in Syria "are overwhelmed with patients filling the hallways" following the powerful earthquake that struck Monday. 

"There is an immediate need for trauma supplies and a comprehensive emergency response," the relief organization said in a statement. 
"Many hospitals are full, but some critical facilities, including Al Dana Hospital had to evacuate patients after sustaining severe damage from the earthquake. Likewise, the Idleb Maternity Hospital was forced to transfer all newborns to a nearby hospital."

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.

The death toll across Turkey and Syria stands at more than 300, with nearly 2,000 reported injured after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit southern Turkey.

3:45 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

18 aftershocks recorded after powerful Turkey quake

Aleast 18 aftershocks with a magnitude over 4 have been recorded after a powerful earthquake struck southern Turkey early Monday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

USGS said it recorded seven quakes with a magnitude above 5.

The strongest aftershock so far was recorded only 11 minutes after the first quake and had a magnitude of 6.7, USGS said.  

Experts say strong aftershocks are likely to continue in the hours and even days to come after an earthquake as strong as the one Turkey experienced Monday morning.

1:35 a.m. ET, February 6, 2023

Israel to provide emergency aid to Turkey after quake 

From CNN's Hadas Gold in Jerusalem 

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Galant said the country is preparing to provide emergency aid to Turkey after it experienced one of the most powerful earthquakes in more than 100 years.

"The security forces are ready to offer whatever assistance is required. The security system has gained a lot of experience over the years in dealing with disaster areas and in the mission of saving lives," Galant said in a statement.

In another statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen expressed "deep sorrow" to the Turkish people. 

"On behalf of the State of Israel, I would like to express deep sorrow to the Turkish people for the severe earthquake that struck southern Turkey tonight," Cohen said.
"Our hearts go out to the victims and we wish the injured a speedy recovery. I instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lead a rapid aid program for Turkey to deal with the severe disaster."

There have been no reports of injuries or damage so far in Israel, though shaking from the 7.8 magnitude quake could be felt in the country.