By - Reuters
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis offered his prayers for the thousands of victims of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey on Wednesday and called on the international community to continue to support rescue and recovery efforts.
"I am praying for them with emotion and I wanted to say that I am close to these people, to the families of the victims and everyone who is suffering from this devastating disaster," he said
"I thank those who are offering help and encourage everyone to show solidarity with these countries, some of which have already been battered by a long war," he added at the end of his weekly audience in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican.
Families in southern Turkey and Syria had spent a second night in the freezing cold as overwhelmed rescuers raced to pull people from the rubble two days after a massive earthquake that killed more than 9,600 people.
(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Alvise Armellini)