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Turkey to open 2 more border gates for quake aid into Syria: FM

Ankara, Feb 9 (IANS) Turkey is working to open two more border gates with Syria to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid to its neighbour which also suffers from massive earthquakes, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

“Cilvegozu border gate is open. We are working to open two more gates … We also provide the necessary support for the aid to reach Syria,” Cavusoglu told reporters on Wednesday at a joint news conference attended by Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the road leading to the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing from Turkey to northern Syria was damaged, and the aid delivery to the rebel-held northwest was temporarily disrupted.

The UN is preparing a convoy to cross into Syria, but that would likely require a new agreement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Dujarric added.

Bab al-Hawa, across Turkey’s Cilvegozu gate, is the only crossing through which UN aid is allowed into the area, Xinhua news agency reported.

A magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck Turkey’s southern province of Kahramanmaras at 4:17 a.m. local time, followed by a magnitude-7.6 quake at 1:24 p.m. local time in the same province.

The death toll from Monday’s devastating earthquakes in southern Turkey and northern Syria has surpassed 12,000.

Many countries and global aid agencies are offering rescue teams and relief supplies to quake-hit regions in Turkey and Syria.