DAMASCUS- Syria's state-run TV aired footage of President Bashar Al-Assad performing Eid al-Fitr prayers in at Al-Hamad Mosque in Mohajirin Quarter in Damascus on Sunday morning.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported Sunday “Top party and State officials, a number of MP's, the Mufti, and a number of Islamic Religion Scholars and citizens performed the Prayers along with H.E. President al-Assad.”
“President al-Assad was received upon his arrival to the Mosque by Minister of Endowment (Religious Affairs), the Mufti, Assistant Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party, Chairman of the People's Assembly (Parliament), and by the prime Minister.” SANA added.
Press reports indicates Sunday that this is President al-Assad first appearance in public after a bombing in the Syrian capital last month that killed the defense minister and three other top security officials.
The last time President Bashar al-Assad appeared in public was on July 4 when he gave a speech in parliament.
Since then, there has been a sharp escalation in the country's civil war with almost daily fighting in some districts of the capital between security forces and rebels seeking to topple President al-Assad regime.
Eid al-Fitr is a three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Some critics reported that Syrian regime has suffered a series of setbacks over the past month that point to a loosening of its grip on the country.
President al-Assad's appearance comes amid much speculation on the whereabouts of Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa, who was said by some members of the Free Syrian Army to have defected to the opposition.
Syria denied Saturday that Vice President Farouk Sharaa had defected as opposition reports continued to provide conflicting accounts of whether he had fled to neighboring Jordan or was still in the country.
“Sharaa has never at any moment thought of leaving the homeland to whatever direction,” state media reported, citing a statement released by the vice president’s office.
SANA reported that Sharaa has been working with all sides to end the bloodshed in the 17-month conflict in Syria. In the release, Sharaa also welcomed Friday’s appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as the new United Nations envoy to Syria.