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Dublin: 8°C Monday 25 October 2021

A Syrian tourism campaign is not getting the reaction it might have wanted

#SummerInSyria has been met with an incredulous online reaction.

syria The bombed-out remains of central Homs, Syria Source: Youtube

A NEW DOCUMENTARY on what life is like inside Bashar al-Assad’s Syria depicts the surreal nature of a recent campaign by the country’s tourism ministry.

Syria has been the subject of a devastating civil war since early 2011 when initial unrest against the ruling regime under Assad was inspired by the Arab Spring.

With Islamic State now prevalent in the north of the country and no sign to an end of hostilities between the regime and rebel forces, an enormous flood of migrant refugees have fled the country. Assad stands accused of killing more than 200,000 of his own people throughout the conflict.

France Syria Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad Source: Remy de la Mauviniere/PA

Broadcast last night, Frontline PBS’ programme Inside Assad’s Syria (which can be viewed here) throws an eerie spotlight on what life is really like inside the country.

The Summer in Syria campaign was launched in June and encouraged ordinary Syrians to share their photos and experiences of the summer season using the hashtag #summerinsyria.

As you might imagine the campaign was not necessarily met with the response it was looking for.

In the Frontline documentary reporter Martin Smith meets Syria’s tourism minister Besher Yaziji in the city of Homs. The minister remains surprisingly upbeat about his remit.

Source: FRONTLINE PBS | Official/YouTube

Besher Yaziji Besher Yaziji Source: Youtube

Yaziji brings the reporter to a nearby resort under construction, the Villa Rose, just ten miles from rebel lines.

syria Source: Youtube

Despite the proximity of the destroyed buildings of Homs and rebel rockets, the resort is already taking reservations, even though construction is still not finished.

Travelling back through the bombed-out streets Smith remarks that “this city is going to need a lot more than a new resort”.

Read: Explainer: What in the name of Putin is Russia up to in Syria?

Read: “Would we choose Isis or the regime? We want neither, we want a third choice…”

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