More than 500 people have been killed by a strong earthquake in Gaziantep, Turkey, near the Syrian border.
Foreign media reported that it could be the biggest earthquake in Turkey and that among the dead, there were Syrians as well as Turks. About 40 aftershocks occurred after this 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Syrian media have reported that the death toll will rise rapidly in the next few hours.
Turkey’s interior minister said 10 cities were affected by the earthquake, including Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir and Kilis.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 04:17 pm local time (01:17 GMT) near the city of Gaziantep at a depth of 17.9 kilometers (11 miles).
The earthquake was felt in the capital Ankara and other cities in Turkey and over a wide area. Many buildings have collapsed, and local and foreign media have reported that more people may be trapped inside them.
Turkey is located in one of the world’s most frequent earthquake zones. In 1999, a powerful earthquake in the country’s northwestern part killed more than 17,000 people. Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabri has stated that no damage has been reported to Sri Lankans due to the earthquake in Turkey; he has also expressed that he will continue to pay attention to the current situation.