The Lebanese army rescued 9 Syrian refugees from a sinking boat on its way to Cyprus.
The Lebanese army said in a statement on its website: “One of the naval forces’ patrols managed, on a separate mission, to recover a sinking boat on its way to Cyprus, where it rescued nine people on board, all of them of Syrian nationality.”
The statement indicated that “Navy forces managed, on Saturday, to thwart the smuggling of people by sea and arrested 54 people (25 men, 9 women and 20 children).”
The statement added that the detainees “were on the Balan Island (which is located in the Mediterranean Sea, about one kilometer off the shores of Tripoli city in northern Lebanon); Waiting for the arrival of a number of boats that will transport them by sea illegally to European shores.”
The statement indicated that “other patrols seized 3 boats that were used to smuggle people across the sea, and arrested a number of smugglers on board,” noting that “the investigation has begun with the smugglers under the supervision of the competent judiciary to find out the rest of those involved in order to arrest them.”
The Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in difficult humanitarian conditions, whether inside or outside the camps. Their number is estimated about 1.5 million, and most of them hope to leave Lebanon for the European Union.