20 Aug 2012

Rare public appearance by Assad

4:04 pm on 20 August 2012

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has made his first appearance in public since a bomb killed several senior officials in Damascus in July.

State television showed Mr Assad praying in a mosque in the capital at the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Mr Assad was shown seated on the mosque floor and standing to shake hands with clerics.

The president had not been seen in public since giving a speech in parliament on 4 July.

CNN reports there was no sign of Vice President Farouq al-Shara, who was the subject of rebel claims that he has defected. This was denied on Saturday.