Syrian official says so far, 77 dead in migrant boat sinking

According to Syria’s health minister, a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized near Syria’s coast this week, killing at least 77 people.

According to the country’s health minister, at least 77 people died when a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized off the coast of Syria this week, despite concerns that the actual death toll may be much higher.

The episode was the bloodiest to yet because an increasing number of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians have been attempting to exit crisis-torn Lebanon by sea in hopes of finding better opportunities in Europe. As the value of the Lebanese pound fell by more than 90%, tens of thousands of people lost their employment, wiping out the purchasing power of thousands of families, who are now living in extreme poverty.

According to Syrian authorities, relatives of the victims have begun entering into Syria from Lebanon to assist in recovering the bodies and identifying their loved ones. The ship departed Lebanon on Tuesday, and it wasn’t until Thursday afternoon that the incident’s details began to surface. Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese were on board.

20 people were rescued and are being treated at al-Basel hospital in Tartus, a coastal city in Syria, according to Health Minister Mohammed Hassan Ghabbash, as reported by state-run television in that country. He also said that since Thursday afternoon, medical officials have been on high alert to aid with the search efforts.

According to regulations, an official at al-Basel who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity said that eight of those who were saved were in intensive care. The 77 deaths were also confirmed by the official. There were varying estimates of the number of passengers on the ship when it sank, with some stating that there were at least 120. It was also unclear what the ship’s capacity and dimensions were.

Twelve Syrians, five Lebanonis, and three Palestinians were among the survivors, according to Ali Hamie, minister of transport in Lebanon. According to Bassam Mawlawi, the interior minister for Lebanon, eight bodies have been returned to the country early on Friday.

More victims’ bodies, including two Palestinians, were carried to Lebanon after sundown on Friday. Seven ambulances were used to transport them south from the Arida border crossing to Tripoli in the north.

The Lebanese Red Cross received the bodies of nine Lebanese and two Palestinians at the Arida border crossing, according to Syrian state media.

Salim Khalaf, a Palestinian whose relative disappeared in the catastrophe, talked at the border crossing. He claimed that in order to escape the hardship of Lebanon, the migrants had no alternative but to make the risky journey.

He added about Lebanon, “Letting the fish just eat us is preferable than living here. Khalaf said, “They reached a stage where they desire to die at sea,” in reference to those who died.

The Tartus governor, Abdul-Halim Khalil, had earlier in the day informed the pro-government Sham FM Radio that efforts were being made to find further bodies off the shore of his nation. The boat sank on Wednesday, according to Khalil.

According to a port official quoted by Syria’s national news agency, SANA, 31 bodies werehed ashore while the other bodies were found by Syrian boats during a search operation that began Thursday evening.

RELATED: Death toll from sinking of Lebanon boat rises to 94

One of the patients at al-Basel, Wissam Tellawi, lost two daughters. His wife and two sons remain unaccounted for. Mae and Maya’s bodies were carried to Lebanon early on Friday and interred at their hometown of Qarqaf in the north.

Tellawi’s father, known as Abu Mahmoud, told the local Al-Jadeed TV that his son offered smugglers the family’s flat in exchange for them transporting him and his family to Europe. “He told me by telephone, “I am well,” but the children are missing.

Following the tragedy, the Lebanese army reported that forces raided numerous suspected smugglers’ residences on Friday, holding four in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest and most poor city, and three more in the nearby village of Deir Ammar.

The military claimed that the suspects were engaged in the illegal maritime smuggling of migrants, while others planned to purchase boats for the same purpose.

With a population of 6 million people, including 1 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon has experienced a catastrophic economic downturn that has pushed more than three-quarters of the population into poverty as of late 2019.

It used to be a nation that took in refugees from wars and crises in the Middle East, but the current economic crisis, which is the result of years of mismanagement and corruption, has drastically changed that.

Hyperinflation has caused prices to soar, leading many people to sell their possessions to pay smugglers to convey them to Europe as the migration has increased recently.

Following a battle with the Lebanese navy in April, a boat carrying scores of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians trying to emigrate by sea to Italy capsized more than 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Tripoli. During the tragedy, dozens of people died.

Lebanese authorities said that a boat carrying 55 migrants was saved by navy troops on Wednesday after it encountered mechanical difficulties around 11 kilometers (7 miles) off the coast of the northern district of Akkar. According to the report, two pregnant ladies and two kids were among those saved.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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