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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made his first appearance in public since a bomb attack in Damascus last month killed several senior officials.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in rare mosque visit
State TV showed Mr Assad performing prayers in the capital's al-Hamad mosque at the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Across the country, many people marked the holiday with prayers and anti-government demonstrations.
But opposition groups reported fierce bombardments of rebel-held areas.
Parts of Aleppo and Rastan have been shelled, and clashes reported in Herak, Deraa province, the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.Defection rumours
Mr Assad was shown seated on the mosque floor and standing to shake hands with clerics.
Correspondents say that in previous years he was generally filmed arriving or leaving in his convoy, but this did not happen this time.
The Syrian president has not been seen in public since giving a speech in parliament on 4 July.
Two weeks later, a bombing in the state security headquarters killed four senior officials including Mr Assad's brother in law, Deputy Defence Minister Assef Shawkat.
There have also been several defections in recent weeks by senior officials, notably Prime Minister Riad Hijab.
However, on Saturday officials denied rumours that Vice-President Farouq al-Shara, the most senior Sunni Muslim in the Damascus regime, had gone over to the opposition.Support for new envoy
The international community has welcomed the appointment of the veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as the new UN-Arab League envoy for Syria.
The 78-year-old succeeds Kofi Annan who resigned this month as his peace plan had failed to achieve a real ceasefire.
Analysts say he has a formidable reputation at the UN but is also seen as independent of the major powers.
Officials in Damascus have also given him their support.
However, opposition groups have expressed scepticism about his ability to accomplish his mission.
Mr Brahimi has said it is too soon for him to demand that Mr Assad should step down. Mr Annan had said it was clear he should leave office.
Announcing his resignation earlier this month, Mr Annan had said he was unable to fulfil his role because of the growing militarisation of the conflict, as well as deadlock in the UN Security Council.
Russia and China have vetoed resolutions on the crisis three times, citing their opposition to any action which might be seen as regime change imposed from outside.
Activists estimate about 20,000 people have died since anti-government protests erupted against the Assad regime in March last year. Tens of thousands of people have also fled the country.
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