Assad makes appearance in Syria capital

2013-05-04 22:26
This photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian President Bashar Assad, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, surrounded by bodyguards as people, wave at him during the inauguration ceremony. (AP)

This photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian President Bashar Assad, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, surrounded by bodyguards as people, wave at him during the inauguration ceremony. (AP)

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Damascus - President Bashar Assad made a public appearance on Saturday at Damascus University for the unveiling of a monument dedicated to students killed across Syria since an uprising erupted against his rule, state media 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.

On 15 January twin explosions at Aleppo University killed 87 people, most of them students and wounded around 160 others. The regime and rebels traded accusations of responsibility for the blasts in Syria's second-biggest city.

On 28 March at least 15 students were killed and six wounded when a mortar struck the cafeteria of the faculty of architecture at Damascus University, state media said, accusing "terrorists" - the regime's terms for insurgents - of responsibility.

Saturday's visit is the second time Assad was seen in public this week, after a tour on Wednesday of a Damascus electrical plant to mark Labour Day.

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

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

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

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict
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