The small island of Arwad is one of just a few places in Syria physically untouched by eight years of war; bombs and smoke remained a distant sight across the water.
But scratch beneath the surface and it still bears the scars, with a damaged tourist trade and disrupted local industry.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RESTAURANT OWNER, ORWA MOHAMMED ABU BAKR, SAYING "The entire restaurant was empty.
This space of 150-200 metres was all empty.
There was nothing, at all.
Arwad in general is always crowded even in the winter.
When the weather is fine, it is crowded, imagine how it looked like in the summer.
You wouldn't find a place for someone to sit." Arwad lies just off the city of Tartous, a stronghold of support for President Bashar al-Assad and the location of a naval base for his ally, Russia.
Boatmakers used to sell their wooden vessels along the Mediterranean coastline, down to Lebanon and up to Turkey providing a lifeline for its 10,000 residents.
But war changed everything.
Tightening frontiers made trade difficult - and prices shot up with restricted imports.
The main damage comes from a painful reduction in tourism; But a trickle of visitors are beginning to return, breathing life back into the seaside holiday destination.