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73 dead as migrant boat wrecks off Syria after leaving Lebanon – Times of India

Damascus: At least 73 migrants drown in boat Lebanon sank SyriaThe coast of Syria is the deadliest shipwreck from Lebanon in recent years, Syria’s health minister said Friday.
Lebanon, which has been mired in a financial crisis since 2019 branded as one of the worst in modern times by the World Bank, is calling for its citizens to join Syrian and Palestinian refugees and leave the country. Therefore, it has become a starting point for illegal immigration.
About 150 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, were on board a small boat that sank in the Mediterranean off the Syrian city of Tartus on Thursday.
“The number of casualties from the wreck has reached 73,” 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 caretaker transport minister Ali Hamie told AFP.
“We are in discussions with the Syrian Minister of Transport about a mechanism for recovering bodies from Syria,” Hamie said.
Tartus is the southernmost of Syria’s main ports, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the port city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon where passengers embarked.
“We are undertaking one of the largest rescue operations ever,” Suleiman Khalil, an official with the Syrian Ministry of Transport, told AFP.
“We cover a large area spread across the Syrian coast,” he added, saying high waves made their job difficult.
Many of the boat’s Lebanese passengers are from poorer areas in the north, including Lebanon’s poorest city, Tripoli.
Tripoli has emerged as a center of illegal immigration, with most migrant ships sailing from its shores.
Wisam Al-Talawi, a Tripoli resident from the North Akkar region, is one of the survivors and is being treated in hospital, his brother Ahmad told AFP.
But the bodies of Wisam’s two daughters, aged 5 and 9, were returned to Lebanon and buried early Friday morning, Ahmad said.
“They left two days ago,” he added.
“[My brother]couldn’t afford the daily living expenses and the cost of enrolling the children in school,” he added, noting that Wissam’s wife and two sons remained missing.
Other relatives told AFP they had arrived at the Syrian border to check on their relatives.
Last year, Lebanon saw a surge in the number of migrants trying to reach Europe by using its beaches to attempt dangerous river crossings in overcrowded boats.
In April, an overcrowded migrant vessel pursued by the Lebanese navy off the northern coast of Tripoli sank, killing dozens and sparking outrage in the country.
The circumstances of the incident weren’t entirely clear, with some crew members claiming the navy rammed their ship, while officials claimed smugglers attempted a reckless escape operation.
Many of the bodies were never recovered.
On September 13, the Turkish Coast Guard announced that six migrants, including two babies, had died, while rescuing 73 people trying to reach Europe.
They reportedly boarded from Tripoli, Lebanon to reach Italy.
Most of the ships leaving Lebanon european union A member of Cyprus, it is an island 175 km (110 miles) to the west.

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