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73 dead in migrant shipwreck off Syria after leaving Lebanon – Times of India

DAMASCUS: At the very least 73 migrants drowned when a ship they boarded in Lebanon sank off Syria‘s coast, Syria’s well being minister mentioned Friday, the deadliest such shipwreck from Lebanon in recent times.
Lebanon, which since 2019 has been mired in a monetary disaster branded by the World Financial institution as one of many worst in trendy instances, has change into a launchpad for unlawful migration, with its personal residents becoming a member of Syrian and Palestinian refugees clamouring to depart the nation.
Round 150 individuals, principally Lebanese and Syrians, had been on board the small boat that sank Thursday within the Mediterranean Sea off the Syrian metropolis of Tartus.
“The variety of victims from the shipwreck has reached 73 individuals,” Syria’s Well being Minister Hassan al-Ghabash mentioned in a press release, including that 20 survivors had been being handled in hospital in Tartus.
Of these rescued, 5 had been Lebanese, Lebanon’s caretaker transport minister Ali Hamie instructed AFP.
“I’m discussing with Syria’s transport minister a mechanism to retrieve the corpses from Syria,” Hamie mentioned.
Tartus is the southernmost of Syria’s important ports, and lies some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the northern Lebanese port metropolis of Tripoli, the place the passengers had boarded.
“We’re coping with considered one of our largest ever rescue operations,” Sleiman Khalil, an official at Syria’s transport ministry instructed AFP.
“We’re masking a big space that extends alongside all the Syrian coast,” he added, saying excessive waves made their work difficult.
Lots of the boat’s Lebanese passengers hail from impoverished areas within the nation’s north together with town of Tripoli, Lebanon’s poorest.
Tripoli has emerged as an unlawful migration hub, with most migrant boats departing from its shores.
Wissam al-Talawi, a Tripoli resident who hails from the northern Akkar area, was among the many survivors and is being handled in hospital, his brother Ahmad instructed AFP.
However the corpses of Wissam’s two daughters, aged 5 and 9, had been returned to Lebanon the place they had been buried early on Friday, Ahmad mentioned.
“They left two days in the past,” he added.
“(My brother) could not afford his every day bills, or the price of enrolling his youngsters at school,” he added, saying Wissam’s spouse and two sons stay lacking.
Different family instructed AFP they’d arrived at Syria’s border to test on their family.
Final 12 months Lebanon noticed a spike within the variety of migrants utilizing its shores to aim the perilous crossing in overcrowded boats to achieve Europe.
In April, the sinking of an overcrowded migrant boat pursued by the Lebanese navy off the northern coast of Tripoli killed dozens of individuals, sparking anger within the nation.
The circumstances of that incident weren’t fully clear, with some on board claiming the navy rammed their vessel, whereas officers insisted the smugglers tried reckless escape manoeuvres.
Lots of the our bodies had been by no means recovered.
On September 13, Turkey’s coastguard introduced the loss of life of six migrants, together with two infants, and rescued 73 individuals making an attempt to achieve Europe, off the coast of the southwestern province of aft.
That they had reportedly boarded from Tripoli in Lebanon in an try to achieve Italy.
Many of the boats setting off from Lebanon head for European Union member Cyprus, an island 175 kilometres (110 miles) away to the west.

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