Owing to the high barrier which shuts off almost all Syria from the sea, and precipitates vapours mainly on the western slope, little of the land is highly productive without irrigation, except the narrow littoral strip which was the ancient Phoenicia, and the small deltas, such as that of Latakia (Laodicea).
From this species the tobaccos of Cuba, the United States, the Philippine Islands and the Latakia of Turkey are derived, and it is also largely cultivated in India; the variety macrophylla is the source of the Maryland tobaccos.
The distinctive Latakia tobacco is produced in the province of Saida in northern Syria.
LATAKIA (anc. Laodicea), the chief town of a sanjak in the Beirut vilayet of Syria, situated on the coast, opposite the island of Cyprus.
There is a large export of eggs to Alexandria; but the wealth of the place depends most on the famous "Latakia" tobacco, grown in the plain behind the town and on the Ansarieh hills.
After the construction of a road through Jebel Ansarieh to Hamah, Latakia drew a good deal of traffic from upper Syria; but the Hamah-Homs railway has now diverted much of this again.
Latakia and its neighbourhood formerly produced a very beautiful type of rug, examples of which are highly prized.
After the danger from the Mongols had ceased, however, KalUn directed his energies towards capturing the last places that remained in the hands of the Franks, and proceeded to take Markab, Latakia, and Tripoli (April 26th, 1289).