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Austrian army suspends Turkey earthquake rescue due to ‘security situation’

Turkey quake

People walk across the rubble of collapsed building following two massive back-to-back earthquakes that affected both Turkey and Syria earlier in the week, in Antakya, Hatay province, southern Turkey on February 10, 2023. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)

The Austrian army on Saturday suspended rescue operations in quake-ravaged Turkey due to a worsening “security situation,” an army spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

“There have been clashes between groups,” he told AFP without giving details.

The spokesman said the 82 soldiers from the Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit were sheltering in southern Hatay province “in a base camp with other international organizations, awaiting instructions.”

They had arrived in Hatay on Tuesday with 45 tons of equipment and were able to rescue nine people from the rubble.

They were set to return to Austria on Thursday, but this is being reviewed, he said.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake has claimed over 24,000 lives in Turkey and neighboring Syria.

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