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Syria toddler survives quake, but mother and siblings perish

February 6, 2023 at 7:43 pm

A man carries a baby after the earthquake in Idlib, Syria after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hits Turkiye’s Kahramanmaras, on February 06, 2023 [izzeddin Kasim/Anadolu Agency]

Syrian toddler, Raghad Ismail, was rushed to safety from the rubble of her home after it collapsed in a huge earthquake that has wreaked devastation in Syria and Turkiye. But most of her family, including her mother, did not make it out alive, Reuters reports.

Cradled in the arms of a rescue worker, she emerged unscathed from the ruins in the Syrian city of Azaz at daybreak on Monday. An uncle looking after her said her two siblings died along with her mother, who was pregnant.

Ismail, 18 months old, ate a piece of bread as she sat on cushions on the ground under a blanket later in the day, a heater helping shield her from the winter cold.

“The father is feared to have his back broken, his young daughter is fine. His pregnant wife, his five-year-old daughter and his four-year-old son have all been killed,” the uncle, who gave his name as Abu Hussam, told Reuters.

READ: ‘I thought it was over, I thought about my family’s safety’, says Turkish earthquake survivor

Abu Hussam said another family in the building, a mother and three children, had been rescued.

Ismail’s family was displaced from the town of Morek during Syria’s 11-year-long war. Azaz, a town near the Turkish border, is held by the opposition to President Bashar Al-Assad.

The earthquake has killed some 430 people in rebel-held areas of Syria, in addition at least 530 people in government-held parts of the country and more than 1,600 in Turkiye.