Tremor measured at 7.8 magnitude was also felt in Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus causing buildings to collapse.
An earthquake measuring a preliminary 7.8 magnitude has hit southern Turkey near the Syrian border, the US Geological Service has said, killing at least 10 people and sending shockwaves across northern Syria, Cyprus and Lebanon.
The earthquake struck at 4.17am local time (01:17 GMT) on Monday as people were sleeping, at a depth of about 17.9km (11 miles), the USGS said.
“Extensive damage is probable,” it said.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) put the magnitude of the quake at 7.4 near the cities of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, close to the Syrian border. The tremor lasted for about a minute.
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.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said there had been at least six aftershocks and he urged people not to enter damaged buildings due to the risks.
“Our priority is to bring out people trapped under ruined buildings and to transfer them to hospitals,” he said.
Damaging M7.8 EQ hit southern Turkey near the Syrian border ~4am local time. PAGER is red for this event; extensive damage is probable. Our hearts go out to those affected. See @Kandilli_info for local info. https://t.co/dMyc6ZVrE1 https://t.co/0OxrznZf1v pic.twitter.com/eco071JqVm
— USGS Earthquakes (@USGS_Quakes) February 6, 2023
Videos shared on social media showed buildings reduced to piles of rubble in several cities in Turkey’s southeast.
Broadcasters TRT and Haberturk showed images of people gathered around destroyed buildings in the town of Kahramanmaras, looking for survivors. Other images showed people taking shelter in their cars on the side of snow-covered roads.
Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, who is in Istanbul, said the quake was felt across Turkey from the southern cities as far north as the Black Sea. She said cities such as Gaziantep were crowded, not only with Turkish citizens but Syrian refugees.
“Some international help might be necessary,” she said, noting that poor weather conditions were making the situation worse.
Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.
There were also reports of damage in northern Syria.
The opposition’s Syrian Civil Defence described the situation in the rebel-held region as “disastrous” adding that entire buildings had collapsed and people were trapped under the rubble. The civil defence urged people to evacuate buildings to gather in open areas.