This handout picture released on Oct. 12, 2018, shows UNIFIL s flagship, BRS Liberal, approaching a boat overcrowded with migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. (The Daily Star/UNIFIL, HO)
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BEIRUT/NAAMEH, Lebanon: The boats had left Lebanon two days earlier, bound for Greece, but their passengers now faced a dilemma: push for the European mainland or cut their losses and make for nearby Cyprus and safety.The dangerous sea route to Europe from Lebanon is not the most well-known, but it has gained greater attention in the past months, spiking after the death in September of a 5-year-old boy from Nahr al-Bared, who drowned when a boat headed to Cyprus carrying 36 refugees sank off the northern coast of Lebanon. While many of those making the journey are Syrian refugees, a significant number, including Maarouf and the young victim of the September disaster, are Palestinians who were born and raised in Lebanon. The Daily Star spoke to Lebanon's Foreign Ministry and General Security but was unable to obtain official statistics of the numbers of people that have taken the perilous crossing.After six months, with no work and no prospect of having his asylum application accepted, Miree returned to Lebanon.
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