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Dramatic rescues as survivors pulled from earthquake rubble in Turkey, Syria

Mehmet Kacmaz/Getty Images

(DIYARBAKIR, Turkey) — Rescue efforts are ongoing after a massive earthquake and powerful aftershocks caused widespread devastation across southeastern Turkey and northern Syria.

Thousands of people have been killed, and the death toll continues to mount as first responders carefully comb through the wreckage looking for survivors. In hard-hit Turkey, over 6,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed, officials said.

Rescuers have been working feverishly in cold, wet weather while also facing the threat of aftershocks since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the region early Monday.

Amid the tragedy and horror of the natural disaster have been reports of miraculous and dramatic rescues.

Among the survivors, an entire family was rescued in the Idlib province in western Syria on Tuesday, according to the humanitarian organization Syria Civil Defense.

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Footage of the rescue showed two girls and a boy pulled from the wreckage of a building by the group’s volunteer White Helmets to loud, jubilant cheers from the large crowd gathered. The children were brought to an ambulance. Two adults also appeared to be carried out from the collapsed building on stretchers.

One of the survivors is a 4-year-old girl named Beyz, who is in good health, the Antalya Municipality Search and Rescue Team told ABC News.

A more bittersweet rescue occurred in Jindires, Syria, on Tuesday. A baby girl who had been born amid the earthquake rubble was rescued, though none of her family survived, according to The Associated Press.

Saleh al-Badran, a relative, said seven people from the family — the mother, father and their children — all died, with the newborn the sole survivor.

Footage of the rescue showed a man carrying the newborn after she was found in the debris, her umbilical cord still connected to her mother. The baby was transported to a hospital, where she was in an incubator in stable condition, according to the AP.

In Turkey, a professional soccer player was among the more than 8,000 people rescued from the rubble so far. The athlete — Christian Atsu, a player for the Turkish team Hatayspor — was injured in the quake, his team said Tuesday.

Atsu was on Ghana’s 2014 World Cup team and also played for Newcastle United in the English Premier League.

The sporting director for Atsu’s team remains under the rubble as the rescue efforts continue, according to a team vice president.

ABC News reporters on the ground in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir on Tuesday learned that crews had recently rescued a woman from what used to be an eight-story apartment building; the top half now rests on three flattened floors below.

ABC News’ Will Gretsky contributed to this report.

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