Syria's Assad visits refugees near Damascus

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gestures as he speaks during an interview with a Russian newspaper in Damascus, Syria. Assad said Thursday, March 6, 2014, that Russia's military takeover of Crimea reflects President Vladimir Putin's "wise policy" and his efforts to restore "security and stability" in Ukraine after an "attempted coup." (AP Photo/SANA, File)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's state TV is reporting that President Bashar Assad has made a rare public appearance, visiting people displaced by the war in a Damascus suburb.

The TV says the visit took place on Wednesday in the suburb of Adra but gave no further details.

Syrian troops have been on the offensive in Adra, just northeast of Damascus, after rebels captured parts of it in December, which displaced thousands from the area.

Syria's civil war, now entering its fourth year, has killed more than 140,000 people.

According to U.N. figures, the conflict has also forced about 2.3 million Syrians to seek shelter in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.

Also, a July U.N. estimate said 6.5 million have been uprooted from their homes and displaced within Syria.

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