Syria's Assad makes rare public visit to power plant

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad made a rare public visit on Wednesday to an electrical plant in central Damascus to mark Labour Day, the presidency's official Facebook page said.

"President Assad is now visiting the Umayyad electrical plant in Tishreen Garden in Damascus and congratulates its workers and Syria's workers on their holiday," the Facebook page said.

It published a picture of the president addressing a crowd of workers, some of them wearing or holding hard hats.

Assad, whose government is battling an uprising now in its third year, rarely appears in public.

His last reported public visit was to an educational centre in the capital on March 20, and he had not been seen publicly before that since January 24th, when he attended prayers at a mosque in a northern district of Damascus.

Electricity production has fallen by nearly half since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in March 2011 because of insecurity on the country's roads has led to shortages of the fuel that powers electricity plants.