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77 dead in migrant shipwreck off Syria

September 24, 2022

DAMASCUS: At least 77 migrants drowned when a boat they boarded in Lebanon sank off Syria’s coast, Syria’s health minister said on Friday, in one of the deadliest such shipwrecks in the eastern Mediterranean.

Lebanon, which since 2019 has been mired in a financial crisis branded by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern times, has become a launchpad for illegal migration, with its own citizens joining Syrian and Palestinian refugees clamouring to leave their homeland. Around 150 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, were on board the small boat that went down on Thursday off the Syrian city of Tartus.

"Seventy-seven people have died," Syria’s Health Minister Hassan al-Ghabash told state television from Al-Basel hospital in Tartus, where he said 20 survivors were being treated, including eight in critical condition.