BEIRUT — The Lebanese Army Saturday arrested five Syrian nationals in the area of Silaata, Batroun, on allegations of organizing a sea crossing for informal migrants, the army said in a statement.
Another 49 Syrian nationals, including women and children, were also arrested Saturday at the Deir Aamar checkpoint for intending to drive to Batroun, allegedly with the intent of taking a boat to a European country.
Such informal migration by sea from Lebanon seems to have been under control in recent months. From January to December 2022, UNHCR claimed to have received reports of 51 boats involved in irregular transit, with 4,334 passengers on board.
In 2022, 62.2 percent of would-be migrants were Syrians, 28 percent were Lebanese, and 11 percent were Palestinians, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Several deadly accidents occurred these past years, during aspiring migants' informal maritime voyages.