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Monday’s powerful earthquake and aftershocks created a panorama of destruction across southern Turkey and northern Syria. Thousands of buildings collapsed in minutes, killing and trapping the people inside. Lively neighborhoods were reduced to dust.

As recovery efforts continue, The Washington Post examined videos, photographs and historic satellite imagery to show the extent of physical devastation throughout the region, from decimated residential blocks in densely populated Gaziantep to war-torn communities in Idlib that were shattered anew.


At least 5,600 structures have been destroyed in Turkey, according to the country’s officials, and some 338,000 people have been placed in shelters. Thousands have been killed.


In this city of 2 million near the epicenter of the first earthquake, tremors destroyed several residential and commercial buildings and severely damaged a 2,000-year-old castle.

The patterns of damage in Gaziantep and other Turkish cities are similar to those seen after earthquakes in Mexico and China, said Ayhan Irfanoglu, an engineering professor at Purdue University. The presence of “soft” ground stories — with more open floor plans than those above them — can function as structural weak points when put under pressure by shocks. “Pancaked” buildings or those with visible joint failings suggested other structural problems.

Fifty miles away from Gaziantep, in Kahramanmaras, entire commercial strips were reduced to rubble.


1999 earthquake in Kocaeli Province left more than 17,000 dead but newer buildings crumbled as well in this week’s earthquake.” class=”wpds-c-hcZlgz wpds-c-hcZlgz-bkfjoi-font-georgia wpds-c-hcZlgz-iPJLV-css”>Turkey enacted more stringent building codes after a 1999 earthquake in Kocaeli Province left more than 17,000 dead but newer buildings crumbled as well in this week’s earthquake.


Video taken on Monday showed stacks of shipping containers toppled over and engulfed in flames at Iskenderun’s Limak port in Turkey’s Hatay Province. All operations have ceased at the port.


The destruction in northwest Syria was still massive, despite the area’s further distance from the epicenter. Civil engineers told The Post that building failures were likely due to poor construction and the impact of the civil war that has lasted more than ten years.

“There is no doubt that the war had impacted extremely negatively the ability of Syrian engineers and contractors to build better structures,” Irfanoglu said.

South of Harem

This cluster of buildings, south of the town of Haram, was decimated by the earthquake.


Catastrophic structural failures were visible in photos and videos taken in Sarmada, a town in rebel-held Idlib, less than five miles from the Turkish border. The remains of a line of multistory buildings along the southern edge of the town were completely unrecognizable on Monday morning.

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.