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'We are forced to dig our mass graves': Syrians fend for themselves after earthquake

Al-Monitor has toured devastated towns in Syria, following the deadly earthquake that has killed over 3,000 Syrians. International humanitarian aid has yet to reach the area.
The photo was taken Feb. 9, 2023, after the earthquake in the town of Jindires in the countryside of Afrin, in the north of Aleppo, Syria. - Khaled al-Khateb

ALEPPO — Rescue efforts to pull victims from beneath the rubble in the opposition-held areas in northern Syria continue days after the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday.

Munir al-Mustafa, deputy director of the Syria Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, told Al-Monitor the death toll — now over 3,000 — is expected to rise with people trapped under the rubble.

“The figures are expected to rise due to the presence of hundreds of families who are still trapped under the rubble of the destroyed buildings and houses. The rescue and search teams have been working under very difficult conditions,” Mustafa said.

He estimated that 418 buildings were flattened, while the number of those that partially collapsed surpassed 1,300. 

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