damascus - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has visited an old church on the frontline in the capital Damascus, where the army is engaged in heavy fighting with rebels.
Assad visited the preparations for a church choir in Notre Dame de Damas Church, state media reported Saturday.
The area around the church was still struck Friday, according to the authorities, by mortar fire.
The church is located two kilometers from the city Ghouta, which is in the hands of the rebels and for months bombarded lately by Russia.
Assad puts herself recently in interviews down as the protector of minorities in Syria and called his reign an example of religious tolerance in a country threatened by Islamist insurgents.
The conflict in Syria has already killed at least a quarter of a million people died and millions of others forced to flee.