Deadly Turkey-Syria quake
It’s a somber day in Turkey and Syria, as the number of victims of an earthquake that jolted the two countries on Monday is now increasing by the hour. In Turkey, the death toll has risen to nearly 3400. That’s according to the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority. Rescue crews are racing against time to find those who might have survived the natural disaster. But the freezing weather is hampering their efforts. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake had its epicenter in southern Turkey. It also shook northern Syria, killing more than 800 people there. The affected regions in the two countries have also witnessed dozens of major aftershocks. Several thousand buildings have been toppled in the quake-hit cities.
A young Palestinian teenager, wounded in an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank, has succumbed to his injuries. According to the Palestinian health ministry,17-year-old Hamza al-Ashkar was shot in the face by Israeli forces in Nablus. The incident happened during a raid by the regime’s forces on a neighborhood east of the city. A day earlier, Israeli forces killed five members of the Hamas resistance movement in the West Bank city of Jericho. The regime has intensified its crackdown against Palestinians, especially after several Israelis were killed in a retaliatory attack at a synagogue on January 27. The clampdown has killed 44 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank this year so far.
N Korea to strengthen military
North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has pledged to expand military drills and beef up the country's war readiness posture. Kim was speaking at a meeting of the central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. The officials discussed major military and political tasks for this year. North Korea is expected to stage a military parade on Wednesday to mark the founding anniversary of its armed forces. Tensions have been rising in the Korean Peninsula in recent months. Last week, Pyongyang condemned the drills by the US, South Korea and Japan. North Korea says the war games have reached "an extreme red line and threaten to turn the Korean Peninsula into a war zone". This is as Washington has vowed to deploy more aircraft carriers and long-range bombers to the region to counter North Korea's weapons development.
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