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Turkey – Syria Earthquake: death toll tops 33,000

The United Nations acknowledged Sunday an international failure to assist northwest Syria and demanded a “immediate ceasefire” to permit supplies to earthquake victims, according to news agency Reuters. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, visited the Turkish-Syrian border and said that residents in rebel-held portions of Syria “rightly feel abandoned.” According to Reuters, the death toll from the earthquakes on February 6 in Turkey and Syria topped 33,000. On Sunday, the death toll in Turkey rose to 29,695, while the total number of verified deaths in Syria surpassed 3,500.

Turkish authorities detained or issued arrest warrants for 131 people accused of using substandard and illegal construction methods on fallen structures, according to an AP report. Turkey’s justice minister has pledged to punish those guilty, and prosecutors have begun collecting building samples for proof on building materials.

Meanwhile, the seventh Operation Dost flight arrived in earthquake-ravaged Syria on Sunday, carrying over 23 tonnes of relief supplies, and was met at Damascus airport by Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment Moutaz Douaji. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the flight is carrying more than 35 tonnes of relief items, with over 23 tonnes for Syria and approximately 12 tonnes for Turkey.

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