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Assad Makes Rare Visit To Areas Hit By Fires In West Syria

FILE - This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 file photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran. Syria's state media says President Bashar Assad has made a rare public visit to the coastal province of Latakia where he toured areas that suffered heavy damage in last weeks deadly wildfires. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

FILE - This Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 file photo shows Syrian President Bashar Assad during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Iran. Syria's state media says President Bashar Assad has made a rare public visit to the coastal province of Latakia where he toured areas that suffered heavy damage in last weeks deadly wildfires. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Syrian President Bashar Assad has made a rare public visit to the coastal province of Latakia where he toured areas that suffered heavy damage in last weeks wildfires that killed three people, state media reported Tuesday.

BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar Assad has made a rare public visit to the coastal province of Latakia where he toured areas that suffered heavy damage in last weeks wildfires that killed three people, state media reported Tuesday.

Assads public visits to areas around Syria have been rare since the countrys conflict began in March 2011. The conflict has killed nearly 400,000 and displaced half of Syrias population including more than five million who became refugees, mostly in neighboring countries.

State news agency SANA said Assad visited the village of Ballouran to inspect the damage and met the local population during a tour to some areas that were affected by the fires, which were brought under control on Sunday.

SANA did not say whether the visit took place on Tuesday or earlier.

SANA said Assad was accompanied by the ministers of local administration and agriculture and vowed to help residents replant the burnt areas.

Wildfires broke out in several Middle Eastern countries last week amid a heat wave that is unusual for this time of the year, leaving Syria particularly hard-hit. Three people were killed in the wildfires that also burned wide areas of forests, mostly in Latakia and the central province of Homs.

On Saturday, special prayers for rain were held in mosques around different parts of Syria, in hopes that rain would ease the drought and stop the fires.

Assads hometown of Qardaha in Latakia province was hard hit by the fires that heavily damaged a building used as storage for the state-owned tobacco company, part of which collapsed.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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