BEIRUT, Sept 23 (Reuters) – The bodies of 53 people have been recovered off the coast of Syria, Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamiye told Reuters on Friday, adding to the death toll from a botched voyage of migrants from Lebanon.
Syrian authorities began finding bodies in the sea off the coast of Tartus on Thursday afternoon. Authorities have not yet said what happened to the ship.
Lebanon has seen an increase in migration due to the devastating financial crisis that has plunged much of the population into poverty for the past three years.
Syrian authorities have said some 20 survivors have been found.
According to the Syrian Transport Ministry, survivors saying the boat left the Miniyeh region of northern Lebanon on Tuesday with between 120 and 150 people on board, bound for Europe.
Samer Qubrusli, director general of Syrian ports, said on Friday that rescue efforts were continuing.
(Reporting by Laila Bassam in Lebanon and Kinda Makieh in Syria; writing by Tom Perry; editing in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)