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34 migrants drowned off Syria, dozens missing

34 migrants drowned off Syria, dozens missing

The balance sheet is likely to increase. At least 34 migrants have drowned off the port city of Tartous in northwestern Syria after a boat sank from Lebanon, the Syrian Ministry of Health said Thursday.

“At least 34 people perished in a shipwreck off Tartous and 20 people are receiving treatment at al-Basel hospital,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that this is a provisional assessment. “Oxygen assistance is provided to most of those hospitalized and some of them have been transferred to intensive care,” added the same source, stressing that all caregivers in the region are mobilized.

A child among the victims

“According to some survivors, the boat left the Minié region in northern Lebanon on Tuesday, carrying between 120 and 150 people,” Syrian Ports Director General Samer Kbrasli said in a statement released by the ministry. Syrian Transport.

A first body, that of a young man, was discovered near the island of Arwad, opposite the city of Tartus, the official said, adding that a child is among the victims, without specifying his age. .

Rescue teams were dispatched to the scene of the sinking to try to find other survivors, but “the search at sea was interrupted in the evening due to strong waves”, added the Syrian official. “The outposts deployed along the coast are however mobilized and continue to monitor the situation. »

Lebanese on board

On Twitter, Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamie said that the Syrian authorities told him that a Russian army helicopter is still flying over the area in search of survivors. He also stressed that “Lebanese were on board the shipwrecked boat”, but did not specify their number.

With a population of 4.5 million, Lebanon says it is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled the war that has ravaged their country for more than 10 years. In addition, tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, mostly in the country’s 12 camps.

According to the UN, at least 38 boats carrying more than 1,500 people have illegally left or attempted to leave Lebanon by sea since 2020.

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