The commanding officer of Israel’s National Rescue Unit, Col. (res.) Golan Vach, spoke about the mission to Turkey to aid victims of the two severe earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria, killing over 2,400.

“I’m honored to lead the humanitarian operation to Turkey. Last night a devastating earthquake occurred, and we are here in Israel on our way to the affected areas,” Vach said.

“Our goal is to save lives. We believe that life could be saved still in this time slot, the conditions and the circumstances are difficult, the weather is cold, and the destruction is severe.

“But we have enough resources and experience that we believe that if we coordinate and collaborate with the Turkish government and [emergency services] we could still save lives and I hope that it shall be so,” he added.

The initial earthquake, rated by the US Geological Survey at 7.8 on the Richter scale, struck in southern Turkey overnight, causing thousands of buildings in Turkey and northwest Syria to collapse.

Some two dozen aftershocks have been reported since the initial quake.

On Monday afternoon, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake was reported in Turkey.