The Syrian regime is bolstering attempts to attract domestic and foreign tourists despite the ongoing bloody civil war, it has emerged.

New airline Fly Damas has reportedly just started flying routes between Damascus and seven Middle Eastern cities, including Amman, Beirut, Jeddah and Riyadh.

The airline's website is still under construction, and airport officials and the company have not responded to requests for comment.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency also reports that the tourism ministry has plans for a new travel app called 'Mobile Syria' which includes maps and directions to tourist spots such as restaurants and hotels, and tourist information centres are being revamped.

Tourism minister Bishr Yazigi is pushing for development and "increasing stability" of Syria's top archeological and other sites, Sana said last week, even though many are now in rebel, including Isis, territory.

Several sites in the ancient city of Palmyra have been destroyed by Isis militants this year

There was still a lot of business at Syria's Mediterranean resorts this summer, sources say.

Tartous is a popular holiday destination for Syrians, even though Latakia, an hour's drive away, has been the site of several clashes between regime and rebel forces since the outbreak of the intractable civil war in 2011.

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Posted by Holiday Beach Syria on Friday, 28 August 2015

Author of My House in Damascus: An Insider’s View on the Syrian Revolution Diana Darke told the Telegraph that since the war began many people have had to maintain a 'keep calm and carry on' attitude to sustain Syria's fragile economy.

In Damascus last November I visited friends from the ministry of tourism who are still going into their offices, trying to do their jobs... Even though it seems absurd to us, it's important to realise it looks very different from inside Syria. A lot of jobs are at stake.

The beaches are very busy - it's a world away from the fighting.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Syria.

HT the Telegraph

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