MIDDLE EAST

Assad makes appearance in Syrian capital

Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, is surrounded by bodyguards as young people wave at him in Damascus on Saturday. (Courtesy: Assad's official Facebook page)

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad made a public appearance on Saturday, attending the unveiling of a statue to “martyrs” at Damascus University, state media and his official Facebook page said.

“President Bashar al-Assad joined thousands of students and the families of martyred students at the unveiling of a statue to the memory of the martyrs of Syria’s universities at the University of Damascus,” state television reported.

A photograph posted on the presidency’s Facebook page showed Assad surrounded by bodyguards and well-wishers, arms extended in a bid to shake his hand.

The visit is the second time Assad has been seen in public this week, after a Wednesday trip to a Damascus electrical plant on Labor Day.

The embattled leader has made increasingly rare public appearances since the beginning of the uprising against his regime began in March 2011.

Before the May 1 visit, his last reported public appearance was to an educational center in the capital on March 20.

Before that, he had not been seen publicly before since January 24, when he attended prayers at a mosque in a northern district of Damascus.
 

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Last Update: Saturday, 4 May 2013 KSA 15:59 - GMT 12:59
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