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Dozens of people die after migrant boat sinks off Syria

At least 53 migrants have drowned and dozens are missing after their boat sank off Syria, officials say.

More than 120 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, are believed to have been on board the small boat which capsized en route to Europe.

Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamie said on Friday that 19 people had been rescued near the Syrian port city of Tartous.

Thursday’s tragedy will likely be the highest death toll ever recorded for a migrant from Lebanon.

“I am discussing with the Syrian transport minister a mechanism to recover the bodies in Syria,” Hamie told AFP, adding that rescue efforts were still ongoing.

In April, dozens of people were killed when an overcrowded migrant ship sank off Tripoli, sparking widespread anger.

Lebanon has seen a spike in migration amid a worsening economic crisis.

The number of people who tried to leave Lebanon by sea almost doubled in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Rare rescue at sea of ​​migrants off the coast of Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said on Thursday that 38 migrants, including eight children, had been rescued in the Black Sea by the country’s coast guard.

The group – from Syria and Afghanistan – were spotted struggling in a storm on their way to Romania, officials said.

This is the first time since 2014 that migrants have been found in Bulgarian territorial waters, according to Anton Mirkov, director of the regional border police.

“The boat was seven to eight meters long and ran out of fuel,” he told reporters.

Bulgaria recently sent around 300 troops to its 259 kilometer border with Turkey to reinforce a barbed wire fence.

The pressure on migration to the EU country increased after two police officers were killed by a bus carrying migrants last month.

Greek coastguard searches for missing migrants

The Greek coastguard also said it was looking for six migrants missing off the island of Leros in the southeastern Aegean.

Officials say 49 migrants were found “in good health” on a beach on the island but “their inflatable boat was found destroyed at sea”.

Survivors said “a total of 55 people were on board the boat,” the Greek Coast Guard added in a statement. statement.

The majority of migrants come from Somalia, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Another one rescue operation was also underway near the southwestern town of Pylos on the Greek mainland.

The coastguard says 85 “struggling” migrants were rescued by a freighter and an oil tanker in the area. The survivors were transferred to the nearby port of Kalamata.

euronews Gt

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