73 killed in boat sinks off Syrian coast

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73 killed in boat sinks off Syrian coast

A Palestinian man Salim al-Jar, center, reacts after learning that his brother Wissam is missing when a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon sank in Syrian waters, as he waits with relatives of other victims at the border crossing point between Lebanon and Syria, north Lebanon, Sept 23, 2022. BILAL HUSSEIN AP DAMASCUS BEIRUT At least 73 people were killed in a boat that sank off the Syrian coast on Thursday, the Syrian Health Ministry said Friday.

Twenty others were rescued and sent for medical treatment at the Al Basel hospital in the Syrian coastal city of Tartous after the boat sank in the Syrian waters, Health Minister Hassan al-Ghabbash said in a statement.

The boat headed for Lebanon on Tuesday carrying illegal migrants of different nationalities to unknown destinations, Syrian General Director of Sea Ports Samer Kobrosly said earlier in the day.

The newest casualties included 31 bodies found on Friday during an ongoing search and rescue mission launched by Syrian authorities, Kobrosly said.

Sources said on Friday that the boat carried between 100 and 150 people, noting that the original capacity of the boat was only enough for 30 people, according to the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul-Rahman.

The Britain-based war monitors revealed on Thursday that the migrants' initial destination was Cyprus. Lebanese, Syrians, and other unidentified nationalities were on board, according to the Britain-based war monitor.

The 20 rescued migrants are five Lebanese, 12 Syrians and three Palestinians, according to the Lebanese Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamieh.

Hamieh said in a statement that the Lebanese Red Cross is coordinating with the Syrian Red Crescent on bringing some of the victims' bodies home.