It is over a 12 months since Bashar al-Assad’s regime, with the assistance of Russian air strikes and barrel bombs, pounded the rebel-held east of Aleppo into submission.
Buildings had been flattened, those that survived had been left terrorised, hungry and crammed with despair, and the stench of useless our bodies rose up from the rubble as households searched for his or her family members.
Now, having largely destroyed town it sought to regulate, the Assad regime needs the world to go to what stays: as a vacationer destination.
This week the Syrian authorities is promoting Aleppo, together with different locations in Syria, on the Fitur International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid, “promoting” the nation’s sights to the world.
It is the primary time Syria has attended the commerce truthful since 2011, earlier than the battle broke out.
Along with the ruins of Aleppo, it additionally encourages individuals to go to the traditional Roman-era ruins of Palmyra, the UNESCO-listed archaeological website which was twice managed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
IS fighters blew up a number of the temples and burial towers earlier than being compelled out of town for the ultimate time final 12 months by Syrian authorities forces and their Russian backers.
“This year is the time to rebuild Syria and our economy,” Bassam Barsik, director of promoting on the Syrian Ministry of Tourism, instructed AFP.
Barsik stated 1.three million international guests travelled to Syria final 12 months, though that determine contains those that got here from neighbouring Lebanon for under in the future.
“We’re targeting two million visitors this year,” he stated.
He argued that spiritual locations, such as the historic Christian city of Maaloula, one of many final locations on earth the place Aramaic remains to be spoken, are nonetheless a draw to vacationers.
Damascus, Tartus, Latakia and the historic Crusader citadel of Krak des Chevaliers near the border with Lebanon, though broken by bombing, are different potential sights.
“In 2017, the army controlled much of the country, and that was a big help to promote Syria abroad and attract tourist groups again,” stated Barsik.
Most nations advise residents towards all journey to Syria.
The battle has displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals and is estimated to have claimed the lives of a minimum of 340,000 individuals since 2011.
( Agence France-Presse )