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Death toll from earthquake in Turkey, Syria exceeds 7,800

Ankara/Damascus| The death toll from Monday’s devastating earthquake in Turkey rose to 5,894 on Tuesday and in Syria to 1,932, as calls for the lifting of US sanctions on Syria intensified. According to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and the media office at the Aleppo governorate headquarters, the number of injured in Turkey and Syria has risen to 31,777 and 1,449, respectively.

The BBC reported that the death toll in both countries was expected to rise further as rescue operations were hampered by bad weather.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Turkey’s southern province of Kahanmaras at 4:17 a.m. local time, followed minutes later by a magnitude 6.4 quake in the country’s southern province of Gaziantep and a magnitude 7.6 quake in Kahramanmaras at 1:24 p.m. local time.

Turkey’s southern province of Hatay and Syria’s northern city of Aleppo suffered the most, the BBC reported, while tremors were also felt in Lebanon, Israel and Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency on Tuesday in 10 earthquake-hit provinces of the country.

He told a press conference that the decision has been taken to ensure that search and rescue activities and subsequent studies can be completed quickly.

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