Syrian regime detains survivors from migrant boat tragedy: report
The Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has detained several survivors of a migrant boat that sank in the Mediterranean last week, according to The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS).
Some 94 people died when a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon sank off the coast of the Syrian port city of Tartous last Thursday. They included Syrians and Palestinians who had earlier fled from the conflict in Syria and were now affected by Lebanon's severe economic crisis.
The boat was carrying approximately 150 people in total.
The AGPS, which campaigns for the rights of Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria, quoted "exclusive sources" as saying that the Syrian regime had detained survivors of the boat tragedy.
They were held on the grounds that they were wanted by security forces, or for compulsory military service.
The 'Eyewitness Aleppo' Facebook page also said that survivors from the boat wreckage were detained at the Al-Basel Hospital in Tartous, and that some of them were Palestinian.
Neither Eyewitness Aleppo nor the AGPS gave the number of survivors detained or further details regarding them.
However, the Consolidated Rescue Group, which works to help migrants in distress, said in a Facebook post that the families of the survivors were afraid they would be taken to the regime's notorious security centres for interrogation.
Syrian intelligence is notorious for torturing, often fatally, detainees. Around 100,000 political prisoners are thought to be held by the Syrian regime, with many of them feared killed by torture or summary execution.
The Consolidated Rescue Group said that most of the survivors were from Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province and some could be wanted either for military service or for detention.
Several Palestinian families have issued calls for information regarding their loved ones following the sinking tragedy.
Haitham Harfoush, a lawyer working for the Syrian regime in Tartous, said that as of Sunday the bodies of 45 people recovered from the migrant boat were identified by relatives. 30 of them were Syrian, 13 Palestinian, and two Lebanese.