5.1 scale aftershock terrifies residents of southern Turkey, northwestern Syria

5.1 scale aftershock terrifies residents of southern Turkey, northwestern Syria
The aftershock, which was felt in northwestern Syria, prompted panic-stricken residents to leave their homes amid fears sowed by the devastating February 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
3 min read
17 February, 2023
Jableh in Syria, where Thursday's aftershock was felt, was one of the worst hit cities in the country following last week's devastating earthquake [Getty]

A 5.1 magnitude aftershock has struck southern Turkey and was felt in northern Syria on Thursday, terrifying residents in the region.

The aftershock occurred around 22:47 around the city of Arsuz in Hatay Province, at a depth of 9.26 kilometres below the surface of the earth, said the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

The White Helmets, Syria's Civil Defence in opposition-held areas, said that the aftershock hit some areas in northwestern Syria, causing panic and prompting scores of residents to leave their homes, according to The New Arab’s affiliate Syria TV.

Videos were also shared online of panic-stricken people leaving the regime-controlled city of Jableh on foot and in their cars. The city, which is in Latakia province, was one of the worst hit by the February 6 earthquake in the country.

The mayor of Arsuz, Rahmi Dogan, told the Turkish Anadolu agency that there were "no reports of damage", but teams were deployed to the ground to conduct any relevant checks.

Orhan Tatar, AFAD’s director who is responsible for earthquake mitigation, said that at least 3,800 aftershocks have taken place following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6.

Thursday’s aftershock comes amid a number of smaller earthquakes following the disaster last week.

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Aftershocks also occurred and have been felt in several neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Iraq in the aftermath of the earthquake 11 days ago.

Two aftershocks hit Iraq's Kurdistan region on the same day as the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, while a 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck northern parts of Lebanon - causing some damage - two days later.

Meanwhile, the catastrophic main earthquake 11 days ago has left close to 43,000 people dead, with around 38,044 killed in Turkey and 5,800 in Syria, according to official figures. Most of those killed in Syria were in the rebel-held northwest region.

The earthquake came as Syrians are still reeling from the devastation of a brutal war which has lasted almost 12 years. It has left half a million people dead and millions more displaced following brutal regime suppression of peaceful protests in 2011.

Moreover, Syrians are increasingly relying on aid from private organisations and expats, as little UN-affiliated aid has made it to the country – drawing condemnation from rights groups.

The death toll may reach 100,000 as many more remain missing - though no official figures have been yet released.

The World Health Organization (WHO) described last week’s earthquake as "the worst natural disaster in Europe" in 100 years.