October 4, 2014 / 9:09 AM / in 3 years

Syria's Assad pictured at Eid prayers in Damascus

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (2nd L) attends Eid al-Adha prayers at al-Nu'man bin Bashir mosque in Damascus October 4, 2014, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made a rare public appearance at a mosque in Damascus at the start of a Muslim holiday, a photo posted on the presidency’s official Twitter feed on Saturday showed.

Assad is shown seated on the floor of al-Numan bin Bashir mosque in the front row of a group of men in prayers for the Eid al-Adha celebration.

The president is not frequently seen in public in Syria, which has descended into a civil war between fighters wishing to overthrow him and pro-government forces. It appeared the picture was taken early on Saturday.

One of Assad’s last public appearances was in July at the presidential palace when he was sworn in for a new term and gave a defiant speech, vowing to recover all Syria from insurgents.

The capital remains in government control but there are frequent clashes between government forces and insurgents on the outskirts.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Alison Williams

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