Syria's Assad prays at Damascus mosque for Eid al-Adha

Syrian President Bashar Assad (third left) prays on the first day of Eid al-Adha at the Sayeda Hassiba mosque in Damascus, Syria, on Oct 15, 2013, in this photo released by the Syrian official news agency Sana. -- PHOTO: AP
Syrian President Bashar Assad (third left) prays on the first day of Eid al-Adha at the Sayeda Hassiba mosque in Damascus, Syria, on Oct 15, 2013, in this photo released by the Syrian official news agency Sana. -- PHOTO: AP

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad attended prayers for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday in a Damascus neighbourhood on Tuesday, with mortar rounds landing in the area hours after his visit.

State television broadcast images of the President entering the Hassiba mosque in the north-western Dumar neighbourhood and waving to supporters before taking part in prayers.

The prayers were led by Imam Mohamed Tawfik al-Bouti, the son of Mohamed al-Bouti, a senior pro-regime religious figure who was killed in a bombing at a mosque in March.

Shortly after the visit, state television broadcast footage of what it said was the aftermath of mortar round fire in the district.

The footage showed a car ablaze and damage to a nearby building.

Mr Assad, who has rarely been seen in public since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, attended prayers at a Damascus mosque on Aug 8, for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

At the time, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported shelling in the area where the President had gone to pray, with activists saying opposition fighters had "targeted" his convoy.