At least 284 people have died in Turkey, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Monday, in a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the country, one of the largest to strike Turkey in at least a century.
In neighbouring Syria, at least 386 people were killed as buildings collapsed after the tremor, state media and a medical source said.
The quake killed at least 239 people and left at least another 648 injured in government-controlled parts of Syria, including the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus, state television said.
In rebel-held parts of the northwest of the country, at least 147 people were killed and more than 340 were injured, rescue workers said.
In Turkey, Oktay added that more than 2,300 people had been injured and that search and rescue work was continuing in several major cities.
The rescue was being hampered by a winter blizzard that covered major roads in ice and snow.
Television images showed shocked people in Turkey standing in the snow in their pyjamas, watching rescuers dig through the debris of damaged homes.
In northern Syria, AFP correspondents said terrified residents ran out of their homes after the earthquake struck before dawn near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, about 40 kilometres from the Syrian border.
In Aleppo alone, 24 people died and 100 were injured when 20 buildings collapsed in the province, the official news agency SANA had said, quoting an official.
SANA said the earthquake was felt from the western coast of Latakia to Damascus.
"This earthquake is the strongest since the National Earthquake Centre was founded in 1995," Raed Ahmed, who heads the centre, told SANA.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit near Gaziantep in southeastern Turkey on Monday at 9:17am at a depth of about 17.9 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will be under intense pressure to oversee an effective response to the disaster heading to a tightly-contested May 14 election, conveyed his sympathies and urged national unity.
"We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage," the Turkish leader tweeted. (AFP)
Last updated: 2023-02-06 HKT 17:28