Despite leading a massacre of his own people, over the last five years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made it a point to present a “business as usual” front while the Syrian civil war continues on. And so, while close to half a million people have been killed in the conflict and five million have been displaced, Assad’s regime persists in publishing propaganda, as an attempt to divert the world’s attention from the crisis. An extreme example of this was recently issued by the Syrian Ministry of Tourism, which put out a video presenting Syria as a prime tourist destination.
“Syria – Always Beautiful” is the tagline for the video, which spans close to two minutes and features an aerial shot of Syria’s beaches while soothing techno music pierces the listener’s ears. The coastline shot in the video is under the control of the Alawites, an ethnic group that Assad’s family belongs to. The beaches featured appear to be the Latakia and Tartus beaches.
The video was greeted with ridicule by the rest of the Arab world. “Who is the Syrian Tourism Ministry laughing at?!” read the headline of Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas, which wondered why the ministry chose not to show photos from other, less scenic regions of the country.