Assad visits Syria's displaced in rare public appearance
In a rare decision, Syria's President Bashar Al Assad decided to make an unprecedented trip Wednesday to Damascus' suburbs to visit citizens displaced from the country's ongoing civil war, according to Agence France Presse.
Syria's state news agency SANA reported that "President Assad is inspecting conditions for the displaced in Damascus province. President Assad is touring shelters for the displaced... and listening to their needs."
Assad's rare visit was allegedly to meet with people living in Adra, a town located northeast of the capital that is considered "a strategic gateway" to Damascus. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights along with other news agencies report frequent clashes in the area between government and rebel fighters as the two opposing sides muscle for control of the strategic area.
The Syrian president made his last public appearance in January when he attended prayers at a Damascus mosque. Since the start of the conflict, Assad has made only a few public appearances, with most being within the capital area.