17:05 GMT +321 October 2017
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    Природные достопримечательности в окрестностях города Сленфа

    Latakian Tourist Industry Reopens Its Doors After Liberation from Terrorism

    © Sputnik/ Morad Saeed
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    Tourism in northern Syria is picking up again after the success of anti-terror operations, local people there told Sputnik.

    With a wealth of historic architecture, including six UNESCO World Heritage sites, Syria was once a popular destination for foreign tourists seeking historical tours. 

    Five years of civil war have decimated the country's tourist industry, and Daesh terrorists even destroyed treasures at Palmyra, in central Syria, before Syrian government forces retook the ancient city in March 2016.

    Backed by Russian air forces, Syrian government forces have also liberated 80 percent of Latakia Governorate from terrorists, a coastal province in the north-west of the country.

    The natural beauty of the countryside surrounding the Syrian town of Slenfah
    © Sputnik/ Morad Saeed
    The natural beauty of the countryside surrounding the Syrian town of Slenfah
    Towns such as Slanfah and Kesab in the north of the province used to be popular tourist centers, but when the war began in 2011 hotels and restaurants there closed their doors.

    Now that most of the region has been liberated from terrorism, the authorities in Slanfah, Kesab and areas along the banks of the Al-Kabir Al-Shamali river are looking forward to attracting tourists back there. They have ambitious plans to return the tourist numbers to their pre-war levels by the end of autumn.

    Yasir, who owns a tourist attraction in Slanfah, told Sputnik Arabic that the industry is beginning its recovery, and Syrian tourists have started to return.

    The natural beauty of the countryside surrounding the Syrian town of Slenfah
    © Sputnik/ Morad Saeed
    The natural beauty of the countryside surrounding the Syrian town of Slenfah
    "The streets are lively, and there are more tourists than we expected after the war. Restaurants and hotels have opened their doors again because there isn't fear any more of mortar fire," Yasir said.

    There remains the distant sound of artillery fire, which is forcing militant groups of al-Nusra Front, Ahrar ash-Sham and other terrorists to retreat towards their bases close to the Turkish border. The businessman said that despite the recent horrors which residents there have endured, they are keen to return to normal life.

    "In Kesab, there are so many tourists that sometimes you can see jostling crowds, and queues at recreation facilities," Yasir said.

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