Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been seen in public for the first time since January 6.
State television broadcast live pictures of the embattled president on Thursday morning as he attended prayers at a mosque in Damascus to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.
On the same day British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported air strikes on rebel-held areas of Daraya, a strategic suburb close to a military air base south-west of Damascus.
Activists posted a video online purporting to show artillery shelling in the same area, while there were also reports that Assad’s troops were battling opposition fighters for control of a road leading to the airport.
Meanwhile, addressing foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there is a connection between recent conflicts.
“The Syrian conflict has been raging for almost two years now,” he said. “Upheaval in Libya, along with the uncontrolled spread of weapons has contributed to the deterioration of the situation in Mali.”
Putin concluded: “The tragic consequences of these events led to a terrorist attack in Algeria which took the lives of civilians, including foreigners.”