Investigation Launched After Bodies Wash Up On Beaches

Turkish authorities reported that eight bodies had been washed ashore in the province of Antalya along the Mediterranean Sea over the course of a week, including two that were discovered along the beach of the resort of Serik on January 22, the Associated Press reported.

One of the bodies was believed to be that of a Turkish citizen who had been reported missing, according to the Antalya governor’s office. The other seven bodies were believed to be migrants who had been aboard a boat that went missing on its way to Cyprus on December 11 near the Syria-Lebanon border.

According to the governor’s office, there were about 90 migrants aboard the boat at the time that it disappeared. Based on winds, currents, and waves, it is likely that the victims aboard the boat had been dragged toward the coastline in Antalya.

Mohammed Sablouh, a Lebanese attorney who monitors migrant cases, said the boat departed from northern Lebanon with 85 migrants, including 30 children.

Saadeddine Shatila of the Lebanese human rights group Cedar Center for Legal Studies said 76 of the migrants aboard the boat had been identified. All of them, except for the Lebanese captain, were from Syria.

Syrian refugees and migrants, seeking to flee Syria’s worsening economic situation, have been living in Lebanon for years hoping to make the journey to Europe by sea, according to Shatila. The going rate smugglers charge for boat passage from Lebanon to Cypress is $3,500.

Shatila told the Associated Press that he hoped DNA testing would help to identify the remains of the victims to bring closure to their families.

Last Monday, Demioren News Agency reported that hotel staff at the Serik resort found two bodies about 1,600 feet apart on the beach frequented by resort guests.

The other six bodies were found along beach resorts on the coast near Antalya city and near the town of Manavgat.