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Syrian child drowns on Lebanon coast after boat capsizes Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syrian child drowns on Lebanon coast after boat capsizes

All other passengers were rescued off the coast of Akkar [File photo: Getty]

Date of publication: 23 September, 2018

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A child has drowned after a boat carrying 39 migrants heading for Europe capsized off the northern Lebanese coast.

Lebanon's army says a child has drowned after a boat carrying 39 migrants hoping to get to Europe capsized off the northern Lebanese coast.

The army said all other passengers were rescued off the coast of Akkar, noting the Syrian migrants were being smuggled to Cyprus.

Lebanese al-Jadeed TV reported, however, that the drowned five-year-old child was from Palestine.

Lebanon is host to the highest number of Syrian refugees per capita, with at least 1 million registered in the country.

As violence wanes in Syria, Lebanese authorities have begun organising return trips to refugees willing to go back.

But UN officials say with no peace deal in Syria, it is too early for the mass return of refugees.

Earlier this week, Lebanon’s Hizballah chief said the group will stay in Syria "until further notice".

"We will remain there even after the Idlib accord," Hassan Nasrallah said, referring to a Russia-Turkey deal to prevent a Syrian regime offensive on the country's last rebel-held stronghold.

"We will stay until further notice," he stressed, speaking on the eve of the Shia Muslim commemoration of Ashura.

"Our presence there is tied to necessity and to the consent of the Syrian leadership," said Nasrallah, whose Hizballah movement is backing the Damascus regime in the ongoing conflict.

Hizballah officially entered the Syrian war in 2013 on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, who is also backed by Iran and Russia.

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