Assad tours flashpoint Homs neighbourhood
Damascus - Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday toured the former rebel stronghold of Baba Amr in Homs, assuring residents that the battered neighbourhood would be rebuilt and that normal life would resume.
"Baba Amr will be much better than before," the president told dozens of residents as he surveyed the destruction wrought on the neighbourhood following a month-long assault by regime forces.
The brief visit was aired on state television.
Assad, standing under a light drizzle, is seen during his tour discussing reconstruction efforts and saying that a plan was needed to be drawn up to ensure residents can return to their homes.
"We have to come up with a schedule in order to inform people when they can return to normal life," the president is overheard saying.
Many residents, some weeping, cheered him on and one woman hugged and kissed him.
Baba Amr was overrun by regime forces on March 1 following a month-long relentless assault to root out rebels.
Hundreds of people, many of them civilians, were killed in the fighting that left much of the neighbourhood in ruins, according to rights groups.
Clashes have been ongoing in other neighbourhoods of the central city that has come to symbolise the one-year uprising against Assad's regime.
According to monitors, nearly 10 000 people, the majority civilians, have been killed across Syria in the revolt that broke out last March.