At least 28 people have been killed after a boat carrying migrants and refugees from Lebanon capsized off the Syrian coast, state media reported.
Dozens of people were killed after a boat carrying migrants and refugees from Lebanon capsized off the Syrian coast, according to Syrian state media and an official.
Samer Qubrusli, general manager of ports, told Reuters news agency that Syrian authorities had found 34 bodies and 14 survivors near the coastal city of Tartous.
Syrian state media reports, however, said the death toll was “at least 28”.
Qubrusli said, citing survivors, that the boat had left Minyeh in northern Lebanon a few days ago. He said search operations were taking place in difficult conditions due to rough seas and strong winds.
The incident was one of the deadliest since large numbers of Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians tried to flee. Lebanon affected by crisis By sea to Europe.
In Lebanon alone, tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs and the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value, erasing the purchasing power of thousands of families currently living in extreme poverty.
Tartous Governor Abdulhalim Khalil is said to have visited survivors at the hospital.
It is not clear how many people were on board and where exactly they are going, but the coast guard is still searching for the bodies.
State media said the boat was carrying people of different nationalities.
Thousands of Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians have leaving Lebanon on a boat in the past months looking for better opportunities in Europe.
Lebanon has a population of six million, including one million Syrian refugees, and has been experiencing a severe economic crisis since late 2019 that has plunged more than three-quarters of its population into poverty.
In April, a boat carrying dozens of Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians trying to emigrate by sea to Italy crashed more than 5km (3 miles) from the port of Tripoli, following a confrontation with the Lebanese navy. Dozens of people were killed in the incident.
The migrants have left the country from Lebanon’s northern coast, the poorest region in the small country.
On Thursday, Lebanese officials said naval forces rescued a boat carrying 55 migrants and refugees after it experienced technical problems 11 kilometers (6 nautical miles) north of Akkar’s coast. ). It said those rescued included two pregnant women and two children.