A ship carrying 83 people has sunk just 20km from Tartous.
It was sailing through a thunderstorm at the time. A search is under way, with British helicopters and rescue teams from Cyprus joining in the hunt for the Panamanian vessel.
19 people have been rescued so far. The crew is mostly Filipino and Pakistani. At least one Syrian and one Lebanese were on board. The ship was also carrying livestock – all 27,000 sheep and cattle are presumed dead.
Just weeks ago, Israel hijacked a vessel heading for Lebanon or Syria. There is no evidence it was involved in the sinking of this vessel.