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Syria promotes itself as tourist destination in new government-sponsored campaign

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Syria promotes itself as tourist destination in new government-sponsored campaign

Syria is promoting itself as a tourist destination in a new government-sponsored campaign.

The Assad regime has released a tourism video  touting its war-ravaged country’s palm trees, sandy shores, and turquoise ocean water.

Set to a pulsing remix of Alan Walker’s Faded, the promo captures a rollicking beach scene near what appears to be the coastal town of Tartus.

There are sunbathers, swimmers, and a large number of people cruising around on jet skis. Absent are the barrel bombs, leveled neighbourhoods, and state-sanctioned massacres that have punctuated Syria’s civil war, now in its sixth year.

The US State Department official said: “The Syrian regime’s reported promotion of tourism at a time when innocent civilians, including women and children, are being bombed and starved by that very regime is nothing more than an affront to human decency.”

The video, titled “Syria Always Beatiful [sic],” is the latest in a series created by the government’s Ministry of Tourism.

Another 11 tourism videos have cropped up on the ministry’s official YouTube channel in the last three weeks reminding folks that Syria still has castles, rolling green hills, and some treasures from antiquity that have survived the bombing.

Syria welcomed some 8.5 million visitors in 2010, according to government figures, a year before the fighting began. At least 4.8 million people have fled the country in the years since, the U.N. estimates. At least another 250,000 people have been killed.