Syria's Assad Makes First Appearance Since Quake

He and wife visit survivors as toll in Turkey and Syria exceeds 21K
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2023 8:27 AM CST
Newborn, Mother Rescued 4 Days After Quake
In this photo released by the official Syrian state news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, center, and his wife, Asma, visit a wounded survivor at a hospital in Aleppo province.   (SANA via AP)

Stories of rescues from the earthquake rubble in Turkey and Syria are dwindling four days after the massive quake, but a handful continue to surface. The BBC reports that a woman and a 10-day-old infant were pulled from a damaged building in Hatay province in Turkey. No health updates were provided on either. The AP has others, including the rescue of six relatives pulled from a collapsed apartment building in Iskenderun, Turkey. They had survived by huddling in a small pocket within the rubble. In Kahramanmaras, rescuers pulled two teenage sisters from the rubble, with one emergency worker playing a pop song on his phone to distract them.

At this point, however, more than 100 hours have passed since the initial quake, and focus is beginning to shift to another crisis—keeping alive homeless survivors in bitter cold temperatures. Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan has described the quake and its aftermath as the "disaster of the century." More than 21,000 people have died, most of them in Turkey. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad made his first public appearance since the quake, with he and his wife, Asma, visiting survivors at Aleppo University Hospital. (More Turkey-Syria earthquake stories.)

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