European Union

More than 11,700 people have died in earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria earlier this week. According to new and regularly updated official figures, the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude quake is rising steadily as rescuers race against time to rescue survivors in the aftermath of the powerful quake since Tuesday night.

As entire regions have been devastated by the tremors, which have also left thousands injured and homeless, several countries have deployed units to help with the rescue effort.

In Syria, where the death toll has exceeded 2,600, the Red Crescent has called on the European Union (EU) to lift sanctions against Damascus and on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide urgent assistance to the Syrian people.

The White Helmets, rescue workers in rebel areas of Syria, implored the international community on Wednesday to send teams to help them. Following this appeal, the EU officially announced that it had received a request for help from Syria. "This morning we received a request for assistance from the Syrian government through the civil protection mechanism. We share this request with the EU Member States and encourage them to provide the requested assistance," announced EU Commissioner JanezLenarcic.