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Deadly Turkey, Syria quake

The death toll from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit southern Turkey and northern Syria has risen to over 3,800. Officials in Turkey have so far confirmed 2,379 deaths. They say thousands of others have been injured. The Turkish Disaster Management Agency has called for international support, as search and rescue operations continue for many who are still trapped under the rubble. The death toll is likely to rise substantially in the coming hours as the earthquake hit when many people were asleep. In the meantime, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the earthquake as the biggest disaster for his country in over a century.

Iran help for quake victims

Countries around the world have mobilized to rapidly send aid and rescue workers to Turkey and Syria.  Iran’s president has offered condolences to the two governments and bereaved families, saying Tehran is ready to send immediate aid relief to the two friendly nations. Iran’s Red Crescent Society says it’s sending six search and rescue teams to Turkey. The Russian government has also expressed readiness to help the affected nations. Russia’s Defense Ministry says 300 military personnel deployed to Syria are already helping with the clear-up effort. And the EU says over 10 search and rescue teams from member states have been mobilized for Turkey. The UN says its staff are now on the ground in Turkey and Syria to assess the needs and provide assistance.

Probing Kiev 'chemical arms'

Russia says it has opened a probe into Kiev’s alleged use of chemical weapons during recent battles in eastern Ukraine. Moscow says pro-Russia forces in the Donetsk region reported the chemical attacks by drones near the towns of Soledar and Bakhmut. Russia says its forces fell ill and showed symptoms of poisoning. Kiev has dismissed the allegation, in turn accusing Russia of using banned ammunition. Since the start of the war between the two neighbors nearly a year ago, Russia has repeatedly warned that Ukraine might be preparing to use unconventional weapons. Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected the allegations as part of a plot to stage false-flag attacks.

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