Lebanon rescues more than 100 migrants whose boat ran into trouble in the Mediterranean

The army said those aboard the vessel included eight women and 24 children

An overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean Sea near the shores of Tripoli, north Lebanon. AP Photo
Powered by automated translation

The Lebanese Army rescued more than 100 migrants on Friday after their boat developed technical problems in the Mediterranean off the coast of northern Lebanon, state-run National News Agency reported. No one was hurt in the incident.

The agency said the boat that was carrying 125 people, all of them Syrians except for one Lebanese, called for help near the Palm Islands in Lebanese territorial waters.

The boat was towed to the port of Tripoli, where some of those on board received first aid, the agency.

The army said that the migrants included eight women and 24 children.

For years, Lebanon had been a net recipient of refugees from the region, but since an economic meltdown began in October 2019, thousands of Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians have been attempting the trip across the Mediterranean to reach Europe in search of stability and opportunities.

Lebanon has about 805,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees, but officials estimate the actual number to be between 1.5 million and two million. Lebanon is also home to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, many living in 12 refugee camps around the country.

Over the past months, thousands of Syrian citizens fleeing worsening economic conditions in their country made it to Lebanon illegally.

In August, Lebanese troops detained dozens of Lebanese and Syrian traffickers in the country’s north while they were preparing to send migrants on boats to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea.

A boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized off Syria’s coast in September last year, killing at least 94 people, one of the deadliest incidents involving migrants. It was followed by a wave of detentions of suspected smugglers.

Updated: October 07, 2023, 5:19 AM