1 Jan 2015

This is how new year’s eve was celebrated in Syria

Bashar Assad makes a rare visit to the front line, activists light candles in Aleppo and new years cakes are baked in Sheikh Maksoud – this is how 2015 was ushered in war-torn Syria.

State media footage showed President Assad having dinner with soldiers and pro-government gunmen in the neighbourhood of Jobar on Wednesday night.

The neighbourhood has witnessed intense fighting over the past months between troops and opposition fighters.

The footage, aired on Thursday, showed Mr Assad shaking hands and kissing troops, walking into fortifications and climbing onto a tank.

The conflict in Syria killed 76,021 people in 2014, a group monitoring the war said on Thursday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 33,278 civilians were killed last year in the conflict, which started with protests in 2011 and has spiralled into a civil war.

The United Nations in August estimated the total number of people killed since the start of the conflict at 191,000 but activists say the actual figure is likely much higher.

In Aleppo, activists were seen lighting candles over pictures of war victims in Salah al-Din neighbourhood.

Free Syrian Army fighter were seen spraying graffiti on a wall prior to the new year in Aleppo.

New Year cakes were sold outside a shop in Sheikh Maksoud neighbourhood of Aleppo.