A new promotional video released by Syria’s Ministry of Tourism this week shows the war-ravaged country, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed over the last five-and-half years, in a completely new light: A coastal paradise for sun worshippers that has jet skis, palm trees, lush green grass and inviting blue-turquoise swimming waters.
The one-minute, 43-second video published on the Ministry’s YouTube page does not mention the country’s bloody civil war.
The video, which appears to show aerial shots of the beach town of Tartus that was attacked in May by Islamic State suicide bombers, killing dozens of people there and in neighboring Jableh, signs off with the slogan “Syria — Always Beautiful.” The Ministry is controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Syria is one of the most dangerous places to visit on the planet and tourism has been significantly reduced amid the outbreak of war in 2011.
However, prior to the conflict it was a relatively safe country to visit in the Middle East as a tourist. It was known for its rich links to ancient civilizations such as the cultural center of Palmyra, an archaeological site that was ravaged by Islamic State fighters when it was captured by the militant group last year.