March 13 - Syria's president visits those displaced by civil war outside central Damascus in a rare public appearance. Paul Chapman reports
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 Syrian television shows President Bashar al-Assad on a visit to people displaced by the country's civil war. It's a rare public appearance outside the heart of Damascus. He was shown meeting people at a shelter in Adra, about 20 kilometres outside the centre of the capital. In a short speech he assured the government was working to overcome the problems they faced and that the armed forces were fighting to get them back home. The trip on Wednesday underlines his increasing confidence just 18 months after rebels appeared to be challenging his control over the capital. Video posted on a social media website purports to show Syrian forces taking control of part of the last major rebel stronghold near the border with Lebanon. The footage was said to show the town of Yabroud, although Reuters has been unable to independently verify the content. Other clips shows what was said to be a bombardment of the city of Raqqah in the north-east. More than 140, 000 people have been killed in the conflict now entering its fourth year. At least two and half a million have fled the country which is fragmenting into separate government, rebel and Kurdish-controlled areas.