At least 73 migrants have been killed in a boat accident off the Syrian coast. 20 survivors are being treated in hospital in the Syrian port city of Tartus. According to Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamie, more than 100 people were on board the small boat. Most were Lebanese and Syrian.
The boat sank on Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tartus – about 50 kilometers north of the Lebanese port city of Tripoli. He said five Lebanese were among the rescued.
In the past year, Lebanon has seen an increase in the number of migrants making the perilous crossing of its coasts in crowded boats to Europe. The destination of most boats is EU member Cyprus, which is 175 kilometers away.
Many of the refugees leaving Lebanon for the EU across the Mediterranean are Syrians. The worsening economic crisis in Lebanon has led to more and more Lebanese fleeing.