At least 111 people were killed across Aleppo, Hama and Lattakia and 516 were injured, according to the Syrian health ministry.
The situation is very tragic, tens of buildings have collapsed in the city of Salqin,” a member of the White Helmets rescue organisation said in a video clip on Twitter, referring to a town about 5 km (3 miles) from the Turkish border.
The rescuer on the clip, which showed a rubble-strewn street, said homes were “totally destroyed”.
Many buildings in the region had already suffered damage in fighting during Syria’s nearly 12-year-long civil war.
Two of my friends are under the rubble now, we are trying to reach them’, Pazarcık resident says
In Turkey’s Pazarcık, residents said they feared for those trapped under fallen buildings.
Nihat Altundağ said the powerful shocks from the earthquake woke his family:
Our house looks solid from the outside but there are cracks inside. There are destroyed buildings around me, there are houses on fire. There are buildings that are cracking. A building collapsed just 200 meters away from where I am now. Thank God, our friends are safe, but we heard there are people who can’t get out of their homes and there are people we can’t reach.
We are waiting for the sun to rise so that we can see the scale of the earthquake. People are all outside, all in fear.
“Pazarcik is in ruins,” said resident Hüseyin Satı.
The building where I live is not so tall, and was built in compliance with earthquake regulations, so it didn’t collapse. But still there are cracks on the walls. A neighbour of mine broke his back while jumping from the balcony during the earthquake and is now in hospital.
Satı said that civilians were frantically trying to help dig their neighbours out from under collapsed buildings. He said:
Two of my friends are under the rubble now, we are trying to reach them.
Meanwhile in Turkey’s Gaziantep, resident Erdam told Reuters he has never felt an earthquake of such magnitude.
We were shaken at least three times very strongly, like a baby in a crib.
Everybody is sitting in their cars or trying to drive to open spaces away from buildings.
I imagine not a single person in Gaziantep is in their homes now.