73 dead in migrant shipwreck off Syria after leaving Lebanon



Damascus: At least 73 migrants drown after boarding a boat Lebanon drowned SyriaOff the coast, Syria’s health minister said on Friday, the deadliest such shipwreck off Lebanon in recent years.
Lebanon, which has been mired in a financial crisis branded by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern times by the World Bank since 2019, has become a launchpad for illegal migration, with its citizens joining Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Fighting to leave the country.
About 150 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, were on board the small boat that sank in the Mediterranean Sea off the Syrian city of Tartus on Thursday.
“The number of victims from the wreck has reached 73 people,” Syrian Health Minister Hassan al-Ghabash said in a statement, adding that 20 survivors were being treated at a hospital in Tartus.
Five of those rescued were Lebanese, Lebanese’s acting transport minister Ali Hami told AFP.
“I am discussing a mechanism for the evacuation of bodies from Syria with the Syrian transport minister,” Hami said.
Tartus is the southernmost of Syria’s main ports, and is located about 50 kilometers (30 mi) north of the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, where passengers boarded.
“We are dealing with one of the biggest rescue operations we have ever carried out,” Sliman Khalil, an official in Syria’s transport ministry, told AFP.
“We are covering a large area that extends to the entire Syrian coast,” he said, adding that the high waves made his task challenging.
Many of the boat’s Lebanese passengers come from poor areas in the north of the country, including Tripoli, Lebanon’s poorest city.
Tripoli has emerged as an illegal migration hub, with most migrant boats departing from its shores.
visama Al-Talawi, a Tripoli resident from the northern Akkar region, was among the survivors and is being treated in hospital, his brother Ahmed told AFP.
But the bodies of Wissam’s two daughters, aged five and nine, were returned to Lebanon, where they were buried early Friday, Ahmed said.
“They left two days ago,” he said.
“(My brother) could not bear his daily expenses, or the cost of enrolling his children in school,” he said, adding that Wissam’s wife and two sons are missing.
Other relatives told AFP they had arrived at the Syrian border to check on their relatives.
Last year Lebanon saw an increase in the number of migrants using its shores to attempt dangerous crossings in overcrowded boats to reach Europe.
In April, dozens of people died when an overcrowded migrant boat chased by the Lebanese Navy sank off the northern coast of Tripoli, sparking anger in the country.
The circumstances of that incident were not entirely clear, with some claiming the Navy hit their ship, while officials insisted that the smugglers attempted to escape recklessly.
Many bodies were never recovered.
On 13 September, the Turkish Coast Guard announced the deaths of six migrants, including two children, and rescued 73 people who were trying to reach Europe off the coast of the southwestern province of Europe.
They had reportedly boarded from Tripoli in Lebanon in an attempt to reach Italy.
Most boats depart from Lebanon The European Union Member Cyprus, an island 175 kilometers (110 mi) to the west.


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