More than 2,300 people have died after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake toppled hundreds of buildings across wide swathes of Turkey and Syria.
Hundreds of people are still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers search mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.
On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold winter’s night.
Nearly 1,500 people were killed in 10 Turkish provinces, with some 8,500 injured, according to the president of the country’s disaster management agency.
The death toll in government-held areas of Syria climbed past 430 people, with some 1,280 injured, according to the health ministry.
In the country’s rebel-held north-west, groups that operate there said the death toll was at least 380, with many hundreds more injured.
Buildings were reduced to piles of pancaked floors, and major aftershocks or new quakes, including one nearly as strong as the first, continued to rattle the region.
Rescue workers and residents in multiple cities searched for survivors, working through tangles of metal and concrete. A hospital in Turkey also collapsed, and patients, including newborn babies, were evacuated from facilities in Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Because the debris removal efforts are continuing in many buildings in the earthquake zone, we do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise.
“Hopefully, we will leave these disastrous days behind us in unity and solidarity as a country and a nation.”
The quake, which was centred on Turkey’s south-eastern province of Kahramanmaras, was felt as far away as Cairo. It sent residents of Damascus rushing into the street, and jolted awake people in their beds in Beirut.
In the Turkish city of Adana, one resident said three buildings near his home were toppled.
The tremor struck a region that has been shaped on both sides of the border by more than a decade of civil war in Syria.
On the Syrian side, the region affected is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Turkey, meanwhile, is home to millions of refugees from that conflict.
The opposition-held regions in Syria are packed with some four million people displaced from other parts of the country by the fighting. Many of them live in buildings that are already wrecked from past bombardments. Hundreds of families remained trapped in rubble, according to the opposition emergency organisation, the White Helmets.
Strained health facilities and hospitals were quickly filled with injured, rescue workers said. Others had to be emptied, including a maternity hospital, according to the SAMS medical organisation.
The region sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Some 18,000 people were killed in a similarly powerful earthquakes that hit north-west Turkey in 1999.
Related: Nicola Sturgeon publishes her personal tax returns dating back to 2014