Latakia: Bashar al-Assad's political stronghold
According to activists, more than 30,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began 18 months ago. The UN estimates that at least 20,000 have died.
But along the Mediterranean coast, much of western Syria remains largely untouched by the violence.
Latakia is the ancestral home of President's Assad's family and his minority Alawite sect, and is a political stronghold.
Lyse Doucet reports for BBC's Newsnight.