Alwaght- The death toll from devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria has passed 5,000 with media reporting some 3,549 killed in Turkey and 1,444 killed in Syria.
The combined death toll from the powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria has reached 5,151.
The quake struck at 04:17 am local time (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers (11 miles) and was followed by a 6.7-magnitude aftershock 15 minutes later, according to the US Geological Survey.
According Turkey’s health ministry, the country’s death toll following the earthquake has risen to 2,921 with thousands of buildings destroyed.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the earthquake as the country's largest disaster since 1939.
He has also announced one week of national mourning following the catastrophic quake.
The Ankara government has requested international aid amid the widespread devastation caused by the quake.
In Syria, the country’s health ministry and rescue teams working across the nation put the death toll at over 1,440.
The official SANA news agency, quoting the country’s health ministry, said the quake had killed at least 711 people and left at least another 3,411 injured, including the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus.
Rescue teams said at least 733 people were killed and more than 2,100 injured in northwestern parts of the country, which are held by pro-Turkish militants.
Reports said the Syrian border city of Harem in Idlib province was completely ruined by the quake.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss the necessary measures, according to his office.
Raed Ahmed, who heads Syria’s National Earthquake Center, told Syrian media that this was “historically, the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the center.”
The tremors were also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.
People in the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli ran into the street and took to their cars to get away from their buildings in case they collapsed, Reuters cited witnesses as saying.
Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed in the worst earthquake to hit the country in decades.