Syria's Assad said to have visited embattled Damascus district

January 1, 2015 05:05

Syrian President Bashar Assad visited a district on the outskirts of Damascus and thanked soldiers fighting "in the face of terrorism," his office said on its Twitter account on Wednesday, posting pictures of the rare trip.

The account said the visit took place in Jobar, northeast of Damascus, on the occasion of the New Year. The district came under heavy Syrian air force strikes on Wednesday according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the nearly four-year conflict.

"If there was an area of joy which remained in Syria, it is thanks to the victories that you achieved in the face of terrorism," Assad told troops, according to the Twitter account.

It showed a photo of Assad shaking the hand of a man in military fatigues. The image appeared to have been taken outside and after nightfall. Another photo showed Assad in a thick jacket standing with soldiers.

State news agency SANA also reported the visit on Wednesday. Assad is not frequently pictured in public, though he has visited troops in the past during the conflict, according to state media.

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