Officials report at least 77 deaths when a boat sinks off the coast of Syria.

Officials report at least 77 deaths when a boat sinks off the coast of Syria.

LEBANON'S ARIDA BORDER CROSSING - According to the country's health minister, at least 77 people were murdered when a boat carrying migrants capsized off the coast of Syria this week, raising worries that the death toll might be far higher.

The episode was the bloodiest thus far as an increasing number of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians attempted to exit crisis-torn Lebanon by sea in search of a brighter future in Europe. Tens of thousands of people have lost their employment, and the value of the Lebanese pound has fallen by more than 90%, erasing the purchasing power of thousands of families who are now living in abject poverty.

According to Syrian authorities, families of victims have begun entering from Lebanon into Syria to assist in identifying their loved ones and retrieving their remains. The ship departed Lebanon on Tuesday, and news of what transpired broke on Thursday afternoon. Syrians, Lebanese, and Palestinians were on board.

According to Syrian state television, Health Minister Mohammed Hassan Ghabbash, 20 individuals have been rescued and are being treated at al-Basel hospital in Tartus, Syria's coastal city. He also stated that medical personnel have been on standby since Thursday afternoon to assist in the search activities.

Officials report at least 77 deaths when a boat sinks off the coast of Syria.
Ambulances carrying the dead remains of victims who were aboard a boat transporting migrants from Lebanon that sunk in Syrian seas reach a border point between Lebanon and Syria in Arida, north Lebanon, on September 23, 2022. According to Syria's health minister, numerous individuals were murdered when a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized off Syria's shore. This is the bloodiest occurrence since a record number of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians attempted to evacuate crisis-torn Lebanon by sea to Europe. Bilal Hussein, AP

According to an official at al-Basel who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions, eight of those rescued were in intensive care. The 77 deaths were also verified by the official. There were different accounts on how many people were on board the ship when it sunk, with some claiming that at least 120 were on board. Details concerning the ship's size and capacity were also unclear.

According to Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamie, among the survivors were 12 Syrians, five Lebanese, and three Palestinians. According to Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi, eight bodies were returned to Lebanon early Friday.

More victims, including two Palestinians, were carried to Lebanon after dark on Friday. They were transported in seven ambulances from the Arida border crossing to the northern city of Tripoli.

Earlier in the day, Tartus governor Abdul-Halim Khalil told pro-government Sham FM Radio that a search for other bodies off his country's coast was underway. According to Khalil, the boat sank on Wednesday.

According to Syria's national news agency, SANA, 31 corpses werehed ashore, while the others were picked up by Syrian boats in a search operation that began Thursday evening.

One of the survivors being treated at al-Basel, Wissam Tellawi, lost two daughters. His wife and two boys remain unaccounted for. Mae and Maya's remains were carried to Lebanon early Friday and buried in their northern birthplace of Qarqaf.

"He informed me over the phone, 'I am well,' but the children are missing," Tellawi's father, Abu Mahmoud, added. According to the father, his son handed traffickers the family's flat in exchange for transporting him and his family to Europe.

In the midst of the accident, the Lebanese army claimed forces invaded the residences of several suspected smugglers on Friday, holding four in Tripoli, Lebanon's second-largest and poorest city. Three more people were apprehended in the adjacent town of Deir Ammar.

Officials report at least 77 deaths when a boat sinks off the coast of Syria.
Relatives of those who died after a boat they were on capsized off the coast of Syria weep over the remains of their loved ones as they pass the Arida Border Crossing into Lebanon on September 23, 2022, upon the arrival of the shipwrecked bodies from Syria- According to Syria's health minister, at least 77 migrants drowned after a boat they boarded in Lebanon fell off Syria's coast, in one of the bloodiest disasters in the eastern Mediterranean. Lebanon, which has been embroiled in a financial crisis dubbed one of the worst in modern history by the World Bank, has become a staging ground for illegal migration, with its own inhabitants joining Syrian and Palestinian refugees seeking to flee their nation. around 150 individuals The tiny boat that went down Thursday outside the Syrian city of Tartus was largely made up of Lebanese and Syrians, according to FATHI AL-MASRI. AFP Via Getty Images

According to the military, the suspects were involved in the smuggling of migrants by sea, while others planned to acquire boats for the same purpose.

Lebanon, which has a population of 6 million people, including 1 million Syrian refugees, has been in the throes of a terrible economic catastrophe since late 2019, with more than three-quarters of the population living in poverty.

For years, it was a country that welcomed people fleeing Mideast wars and conflicts, but the economic catastrophe, which was caused by decades of corruption and incompetence, has drastically changed that.

Prices have skyrocketed due to hyperinflation, prompting many to sell their goods to pay smugglers to transport them to Europe as the exodus has increased in recent months.

Following a clash with the Lebanese navy, a boat carrying scores of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians attempting to flee by sea to Italy went down more than 3 miles off Tripoli in April. Several people were killed in the tragedy.

Lebanese officials said on Wednesday that navy troops rescued a boat carrying 55 migrants after it encountered technical difficulties approximately 7 miles off the coast of Akkar's northern province. Two pregnant women and two toddlers were among those rescued, according to the report.

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