Holidays in hellHolidays in hell

After 400,000 dead, Damascus invites beach tourism

Video published by Assad regime shows beachgoers frolicking in sun-kissed Mediterranean Sea, ignores bloodshed

Syria’s Tourism Ministry released a new video promoting travel to the country through slick aerial views of a tranquil Mediterranean beach.

The video drew immediate criticism on social media for ignoring five years of bloody conflict that have left an estimated 400,000 dead and 7.6 million people displaced, while laying waste to entire cities.

Published on the ministry’s Facebook page Monday, the video shows a jet ski zipping along the Syrian coast as dozens of people enjoy the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The camera then zooms over rolling green fields and a sprawling city scene before returning to the seafront images, while pulsating music plays in the background.

The footage was reportedly filmed at Tartus, Syria’s second port city and home to a Russian naval base, and ends with the slogan: “Syria — Always Beautiful.”

It was not the first time that the embattled Assad regime has sought to promote the country as a tourist hot-spot while seemingly ignoring the raging conflict. Since the start of the fighting in 2011, it has released several videos, including one that invited visitors to now-ravaged Aleppo and another touting the country as “the cradle of civilizations.”

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