A boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized off Syria’s coast Thursday afternoon, leaving at least 25 people dead, Syrian state media reported.
The incident is one of the deadliest since a surging number of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians tried to flee crisis-hit Lebanon by sea to Europe.
Syria‘s state television quoted the head of the Syrian Ports Authority Brig. Gen. Samer Kobrosli as saying that at least 25 people died in the incident.
Kobrosli added that 15 survivors are being treated at the Al-Basel Hospital in the coastal city of Tartus, noting that most of them were Lebanese and Syrians, and some without identification papers.
Furthermore, Tartus Governor Abdulhalim Khalil has reportedly visited the 13 survivors at the hospital.
It was not immediately clear how many people were aboard and where exactly they were heading, but coastguards are still searching for bodies.
State media did not disclose further details but quoted some of the migrants as saying that they sailed from the Lebanese coastal town of Minyeh several days ago apparently aiming to reach Europe.
It said the boat was carrying people of different nationalities.
Over the past months, thousands of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians have left Lebanon on boats seeking better opportunities in Europe.
Lebanon has a population of 6 million, including 1 million Syrian refugees, and has been in the grips of a severe economic meltdown since late 2019 that has pulled over three-quarters of the population into poverty.