People stand in front of a collapsed residential building after an earthquake in Malatya, Turkey.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday and was felt in a large part of the country as well as in several countries in the region including neighboring Syria, killing at least fifteen people in Turkey and causing extensive damage according to initial reports.
The earthquake occurred at 4:17 a.m. (local time), at a depth of approximately 17.9 kilometers.
< p class="e-p">The epicenter is in the district of Pazarcik, in the province of Kahramanmaras, about 60 km as the crow flies from the Syrian border.
The tremors, felt across the southeast of the country, were also felt in Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus, according to AFP correspondents.
At least five people have died in the southern Turkish province of Osmaniye, the governor of the province said on Monday, quoted by the state agency Anadolu.
The governor a Sanliurfa reported about 10 deaths in his province.
A man walks past a collapsed building after an earthquake in Malatya, Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been informed of the earthquake, according to the Turkish presidency. Our search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the areas affected by the earthquake, the Turkish President wrote on Twitter.
Videos posted on social media show destroyed buildings in several cities in the south-east of the country.
An AFP correspondent in Diyarbakir, a large city in the south-east of the country, saw a building collapsed, with rescue workers hard at work trying to extricate people from the rubble.
On Twitter, Turkish netizens shared the ;identity and location of people trapped under the rubble in several cities in the south-east of the country.
Adana city mayor Zeydan Karalar said two 17-storey and 14-storey buildings were destroyed, according to TRT channel.
Rescuers search for victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Diyarbakir, Turkey.
Buildings were destroyed in many towns in the south-east of the country, including Adiyaman, Diyarbakir and Malatya, according to the private Turkish channel NTV, raising fears of victims.
All our teams are on alert. We have issued a level four alarm. This is a call, including for international help, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told the Haberturk channel.
At the moment, we cannot say anything clear about the damage and the loss of human life, he added, specifying that there were victims and that 22 aftershocks had already taken place.
The governor of Gaziantep province called on residents to gather outside.
A man carries an injured child after an earthquake in the town of Jandaris in the countryside of Syria's northwestern city of Afrin in the rebel-held part of Aleppo province, early on February 6, 2023.
Syrian state television reported that a building near Latakia, on the west coast of Syria, went down collapsed after the earthquake.
Pro-government media said several buildings partially collapsed in Hama, central Syria.
Syrian civil defense and firefighters are at work extracting possible victims from the rubble.
Turkey is located in one of the earthquake zones most active in the world. A 5.9-magnitude quake killed three people and injured more than 800, most lightly, in late January in a mountainous region of northwestern Iran near the border with Turkey.
An earthquake in the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan, caused damage, on January 29 2023 (File photo).
At the end of November, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck northwestern Turkey, injuring around 50 people and causing damage limited, according to the Turkish emergency services.
This same region of the northwest had been hard hit in August 1999 by an earthquake of magnitude 7.4, which had caused the death of 17,000 people, including a thousand in Istanbul.
In January 2020, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit the provinces of Elazig and Malatya ( east), killing more than 40 people.
In October of the same year, an earthquake of m agnitude 7 in the Aegean Sea killed 114 and injured more than 1,000 in Turkey.