Lebanon stops migrant ship transporting 34 Syrian refugees

BEIRUT: Lebanon The army said it stopped a boat carrying 34 Syrian refugees trying to leave the country affected by the protests.

He stopped the boat near the coast of the northern city of Tripoli on Saturday, he said in a statement on Sunday.

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 ship.

The final destination of the ship 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 , about 100 km.

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 the demonstrations began, yielding to popular pressure.

The deeply divided political parties of the country have not yet formed a new one.