At least 640 people have died after a huge earthquake hit Turkey and Syria.
The 7.8-magnitude quake was centred in the town of Pazarcik in Kahramanmaras province, about 20 miles from the city of Gaziantep, at a depth of six miles and there were several powerful aftershocks.
With hundreds injured, the death toll is expected to increase as rescue workers search the rubble.
Major rise in death toll as rescue teams race against time – live updates
On both sides of the border, residents were jolted from their sleep and rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy winter night as buildings fell around them and strong aftershocks continued.
“I have never felt anything like it in the 40 years I’ve lived,” said Erdem, a resident of Gaziantep. “We were shaken at least three times very strongly, like a baby in a crib.”
The quake heavily damaged Gaziantep’s most famous landmark, a historic castle perched atop a hill in the centre of the city. Parts of the fortresses’ walls and watch towers collapsed, with other parts heavily damaged, images showed.
At least 20 aftershocks followed the quake, the strongest measuring 6.6, according to Turkish authorities.
Rescue workers and residents worked through tangles of metal and giant piles of debris in their search for survivors.
Turkish broadcaster RTR showed rescue workers in Osmaniye province using a blanket to carry an injured man from a collapsed four-storey building – he was the fifth to be pulled from the rubble, it said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the areas hit by the quake.
“We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,” he wrote.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay declared a “level 4 alarm” that calls for international assistance.
‘We are under extreme pressure’
In Syria, already devastated by more than 11 years of civil war, numerous buildings tumbled down in the provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia.
State TV showed footage of rescue teams searching for survivors in heavy rain and sleet.
“We fear that the deaths are in the hundreds,” Dr Qaddour said, referring to the rebel-held northwest. “We are under extreme pressure.”
Syria’s state media reported that some buildings collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama.
In the northwest of the country, the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defence described the situation in the rebel-held region as “disastrous”, adding that entire buildings have collapsed and people are trapped under the rubble.
Tremors felt as far as Egypt
In Beirut and Damascus, there were reports of buildings shaking and people gathering on the streets in fear.
There have so far been no reports of fatalities or serious damage in Egypt, Lebanon or Cyprus, where the quake was also felt.
Timing of quake is behind rapidly rising death toll – and why it will be tough to get aid to Syria
The images coming out of southern Turkey and northwest Syria are grim.
The earthquake struck before dawn, when most people were in bed, asleep.
That factor will likely add to the rapidly increasing death toll, as will severe aftershocks.
The coming hours will be crucial as rescue workers race against time to locate survivors. Already Turkey has declared a state of emergency and help is being pledged from around the world.
The situation in northern Syria is especially concerning. The region has already suffered 12 years of civil war which has left many buildings damaged and weakened, and there are hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by fighting.
Getting aid into this contested part of Syria will be a challenge in itself.
There is a major aid hub nearby in Dubai, where warehouses are full of medical and humanitarian supplies ready to fly if access to Turkey and Syria can be negotiated.
Turkey, which sits on a fault line, has a history of earthquakes and therefore will have some expertise already on the ground, but this is already looking like a major disaster that will need all the international help available.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK “stands ready to help in whatever way we can.
He tweeted: “My thoughts are with the people of Türkiye and Syria this morning, particularly with those first responders working so valiantly to save those trapped by the earthquake.”
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted: “Tragic loss of life in the Türkiye and Syria earthquake.
“Our condolences go to the families of those who died and our thoughts are with the survivors.
“The UK stands ready to provide assistance.”
The United States was “profoundly concerned” about the quake in Turkey and Syria and was monitoring events closely, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Twitter.
“I have been in touch with Turkish officials to relay that we stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance,” he said.
Experts expect death toll to rise significantly
Turkey sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes.
Professor Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of earth sciences at UCL, said: “This a major earthquake that has clearly resulted in widespread devastation.
“Many of the buildings in the towns affected are simply not designed to cope with this level of strong shaking, and in Syria many structures have already been weakened by more than a decade of war.
“Sadly, I expect the death toll to rise significantly, and would not be at all surprised by a final death toll in the thousands.
“There have been dozens of significant aftershocks on the heels of the main quake, and these will continue for days, hampering rescue and relief efforts and potentially causing the collapse of already damaged buildings.”