By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) - China's President Xi Jinping on Monday expressed condolences to Türkiye after powerful earthquakes rocked the country that he said would overcome the disaster under the leadership of its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Xi said he believed that under the leadership of the Turkish president, the "government and people of Türkiye will surely overcome the disaster and rebuild their homes."
His comments came in a condolence message to Erdogan after 1,760 people lost their lives and 12,068 were injured by two strong earthquakes early on Monday in southern Türkiye that reduced over 5,000 buildings to rubble.
The Chinese president said he was "saddened" to hear that the earthquakes "caused heavy casualties and property losses."
Public broadcaster CGTN quoted the Chinese president as saying that he extended "condolences over the deceased and expressed sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured," on behalf of the Chinese government and people.
Xi sent a similar message to the leader of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, over the deadly earthquakes that shook parts of the conflict-hit nation where at least 968 people were killed and hundreds injured, according to figures compiled from the Syrian regime's Health Ministry and Syrian Civil Defense.
Early Monday morning, a strong 7.7 earthquake, centered in the Pazarcik district, jolted Kahramanmaras and strongly shook several provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.
Later, at 13.24 p.m. (1024GMT), a 7.6 magnitude quake centered in Kahramanmaras’s Elbistan district struck the region.
Neary 9,700 search and rescue personnel have been assigned to the region, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
Türkiye declared seven-day national mourning in view of the heavy damages of life and property caused by the earthquakes and issued a level-4 alarm, which includes a call for international aid.