Lebanon stops migrant boat carrying 34 Syrian refugees

A Lebanese army boat carrying survivors of a ship accident off the Lebanese waters docks at the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon. (File photo: AFP)

Lebanon’s army on Sunday said it stopped a boat carrying 34 Syrian refugees who were trying to leave the protest-hit country.

It stopped the boat near the coast of the northern city of Tripoli on Saturday, it said in a statement.

The army said it arrested a Lebanese citizen who was trying to smuggle them out of the country, adding that there were five Lebanese on board the vessel.

The boat’s final destination was not immediately clear.

Lebanon, a small Mediterranean country of some 4.5 million people, says it hosts around 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

Those escaping Lebanon by boat have often tried to cross into Europe through Turkey or Cyprus, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) away.

In October, Lebanon said it agreed to work with Cyprus to prevent migrants from reaching its shores.

Lebanon has been rocked by unprecedented anti-government protests since October 17.

The government resigned two weeks after demonstrations started, bowing to popular pressure.

The country’s deeply divided political parties have yet to form a new one.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:01 - GMT 07:01
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