​​​​Half of Syrians in Turkey live in the earthquake zone

Turkish rescue workers search through the rubble in the southern Hatay state - February 8, 2023 (The New York Times)

Turkish rescue workers search through the rubble in the southern Hatay state - February 8, 2023 (The New York Times)


The total number of Syrian refugees in Turkey is about 3.5 million, and nearly 1,750,000 of them reside in the cities of southern Turkey, where the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing more than 11,000 people.

The southern border city of Gaziantep hosts the largest proportion in southern Turkey, as it hosts 460,150 refugees, followed by the city of Hatay with 354,000 Syrians, Urfa with 368,000 refugees, and Adana with 250,000 refugees.

According to the latest statistics issued by the Turkish Presidency of Migration Management on February 2, about 550,000 refugees live in Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Adiyaman, Osmaniye, Diyarbakir, and Malatya.

A large number of Syrians in Turkey died in the earthquake, which affected 10 Turkish states, the center of which was Kahramanmaraş city.

Syrians on social media mourned the victims of their relatives in Turkey, including families who lost their entire families under the rubble as a result of the earthquake.

According to the statement of Vice President Fuat Aktay, it has become difficult to know the fate of many missing Syrians due to the complete power outage and communications network in the earthquake areas, and vehicles that do not have a job were prevented from entering the cities of Kahramanmaraş, Adiyaman, and Hatay yesterday.

The fate of Syrian families remained unknown, while their families tried to reach or communicate with them but to no avail.

On Tuesday, a number of people inside Syria gathered at the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the border with Turkey, awaiting the entry of the bodies of their relatives who were killed in the earthquake.

Mazen Alloush, a press officer at the Bab al-Hawa crossing, told Enab Baladi that, on Monday, the vehicles of the Turkish Ministry of Health delivered 50 bodies of Syrians who were killed in Turkey as a result of the earthquake to the crossing, with the aim of handing over their bodies to their families residing in northern Syria.

According to the Bab al-Hawa crossing, 85 bodies of Syrians who died as a result of the earthquake in southern Turkey arrived at the crossing on Tuesday.

Death toll increase

Thinly stretched rescue teams worked through the night in Turkey and Syria, pulling more bodies from the rubble of thousands of buildings toppled by a catastrophic earthquake. The death toll rose on Wednesday to more than 11,000, making the quake the deadliest in more than a decade, according to the AP.

That makes it the deadliest since a 2011 earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami, killing nearly 20,000 people.

The number of earthquake victims has risen across the affected areas in Turkey to 9,057 people, and 52,4979 people have been injured, according to statistics announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday, during a visit to the affected region.

In the latest statistics issued by the Syria Civil Defense (SCD) teams, the death toll from the earthquake in northwestern Syria has risen to more than 1730 deaths and more than 2,850 injured, with the number expected to increase “significantly” due to the lack of humanitarian support for ongoing relief work in the region.

In regime-held areas, the latest statistics of the regime’s health ministry revealed that the death toll reached a total of 1,262 while 2285 people have been injured.



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