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MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin offered Russian assistance on Monday to Syria and Turkey after a major earthquake of magnitude 7.8 killed more than 500 people and injured thousands in the two countries.
Russia, which is closely allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, maintains a significant military presence in that country. Putin also has a strong rapport with President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a Nato member which has nevertheless sought to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“Please accept my deep condolences on the numerous human casualties and large-scale destruction caused by a powerful earthquake in your country,” Putin said in his message to Erdogan on Monday.
“We are ready to provide the necessary assistance in this regard.”
Separately, Putin told Assad that Russia shared “the sadness and pain of those who lost their loved ones” and said Russia was ready to provide help.
Earlier, Russia’s defence ministry said its military facilities in Syria had not been damaged by the earthquake.

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