BEIRUT — In the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday, killing hundreds of people in both countries and causing widespread damage according to initial, ever-changing reports, Bassam, a Syrian who has lived in Gaziantep for several years, remains locked in his car with his wife and their two children.
This family lived through the siege of Aleppo and bombing by Syria's Assad regime and its Russian ally, until the evacuation of the city in 2016. One of their childen, a twin, died as a newborn when their building in the city collapsed.
"What happened last night was worse than all the bombing by [Bashar al-]Assad that we have experienced since the war started. It kept shaking, I thought about my children, the war in Syria, my city Aleppo, it was a nightmare," Bassam told L'Orient-Le Jour.
At least 912 people have died in Turkey as a result of the quake, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday.
The toll is likely to increase rapidly given the number of collapsed buildings in the affected cities, such as Adana, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diayarbakir and others.