20 survivors were also being treated in the hospital in the Syrian port city of Tartus, said Syrian Health Minister Hassan al-Ghabash on Friday. The Lebanese government had previously announced the number of 53 dead.
The boat sank on Thursday off the coast of Tartus in the Mediterranean Sea. According to the Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamie, more than 100 people were on board the small boat. Most were Lebanese and Syrian.
Hamie had previously spoken of 19 rescued. According to him, five Lebanese were among the rescued. Hamie told AFP that he was talking to his Syrian counterpart about how the bodies could be transferred from Syria to Lebanon.
According to official information, survivors reported that the boat left Lebanon a few days ago. Tartus is the southernmost of Syria’s major ports and is located around 50 kilometers north of the Lebanese port city of Tripoli.
Over the past year, Lebanon has seen a surge in the number of migrants making the perilous crossing from its shores in overcrowded 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.