Authorities and the media reported that a building fell on Sunday, killing 16 people, including children, in Aleppo, Syria’s second city.
The battle in Syria, which started about 12 years ago, devastated most of Aleppo and left many of the remaining buildings in a dilapidated condition.
“The number of victims of the residential building collapse… has risen to 16 dead”, said state news agency SANA.
According to Syria’s interior ministry, only one person had been pulled alive from the wreckage of the five-story structure, which housed seven families.
It was unclear right away if anyone else had survived the disaster in the city, which served as Syria’s commercial center prior to the war.
The original death toll, which SANA reported to be 10 early on Sunday, increased throughout the day as search efforts went on.
Five children were among those killed, according to a Kurdish news agency. According to a war monitor, the victims included Syrians who had been displaced due to the ongoing fighting in their homeland.
About 35 people lived in the structure, locals said AFP. Numerous rescue personnel could be seen at the scene in video footage that was shown on state television, some of whom dug through the gray rubble with their bare hands. The building materials were picked up by earth movers, which sent dust into the atmosphere.
The building in Aleppo’s Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood collapsed “due to a water leak” in the foundations, a police source was quoted by SANA as saying earlier.
The majority of the residents are Syrian Kurds who are governed by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which functions as the de facto army for the Kurds.
However, Aleppo itself is under the grip of the government, which reclaimed it from the rebels after a bloody urban battle.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that among the victims were displaced people from Afrin, further north, where neighbouring Turkey carried out an offensive in 2018.
The violence in Syria, which started in 2011, has claimed up to 500,000 lives and uprooted approximately half of the nation’s pre-war population.
Many people who were evicted from their homes were forced to move into weakly constructed buildings, which frequently collapse.
Ten people, including three children, were killed by a building collapse in the Ferdaws neighborhood of Aleppo in September.
In February 2019, a war-damaged apartment building collapsed in the city, killing 11 people, including four children.