Turkey’s disaster agency said 2300 people died there, while it is estimated that 783 people died in Syria as of this writing.
The numbers are expected to soar as rescuers grapple with mountains of rubble in snowy weather.
Turkey’s earthquake is considered the country’s worst disaster in almost a century, Turkey’s president Erdogan said. The US Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude tremor smashed at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT) at a depth of 17.9km (11 miles) near the city of Gaziantep.
Seismologists said the first quake was one of the most significant ever recorded in Turkey. Survivors said the shaking continued for two minutes straight.
Twelve hours following the first earthquake, another struck the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras province at a 7.5 magnitude.
An official from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said it was “not an aftershock” and was “independent” from the earlier quake.
Turkey is one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday’s disaster was the worst the country had seen since 1939 when the Erzincan earthquake in eastern Turkey killed nearly 33,000 people.