Day 1,091: Assad makes rare public appearance, visiting displaced Syrians

A photo posted to the official Facebook page of the Syrian presidency on March 12, 2014.</p>

A photo posted to the official Facebook page of the Syrian presidency on March 12, 2014.

Today is Day 1,091 of the Syria conflict, as measured from when security forces first opened fire on protesters in Daraa on March 18, 2011 — the first deaths of the uprising.

As the three-year anniversary of the struggle approaches, the Twitter and Facebook feeds of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have posted pictures of the president talking to displaced Syrian women and children, in what CNN understatedly calls a "rare public appearance." CNN also reports that Syrian television "said Assad was 'listening to their needs' and told them that the state would continue 'to secure basic necessities for the displaced until they can return to their homes in Adra and elsewhere.'"



Also in the news today, mysterious street artist Banksy has reworked one of his most iconic pieces — a girl with a balloon — to mark the upcoming third anniversary, posting it with a statement on his website:

On the 6th March 2011 in the Syrian town of Daraa, fifteen children were arrested and tortured for painting anti-authoritarian graffiti. The protests that followed their detention led to an outbreak of violence across the country that would see a domestic uprising transform into a civil war displacing 9.3 million people from their homes. #WithSyria

#WithSyria is the hashtag for a global vigil on March 15, marking the three-year anniversary of the beginning of the large protests in Daraa (another way of measuring the start date).

The conflict continues.