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Assad Makes Rare TV Appearance, Calls On Syrians To Live Normal Life - State TV

posted 4 May 2013, 13:53 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 4 May 2013, 13:55 ]

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad makes a rare TV appearance, calls on people to live as much of a normal life as possible. Assad was standing amid a throng of pro-government supporters while unveiling a statue at Damascus University.

DAMASCUSSYRIA (MAY 4, 2013)  (SYRIAN TV) -  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare appearance in public on Saturday (May 4) to unveil a statue at a Damascus university, state TV showed.

Large crowds of supporters could be seen surrounding Assad and cheering, while patriotic music blared.

He later made a statement where he called on Syrians to live as much of a normal life as possible.

"Throughout history and across cultures, terrorism has been the weapon of the cowardly. Only someone that is weak and cowardly uses terrorism as his weapon. That's why they attacked the students and teachers, but once they saw the Syrian military, they fled, those cowards," Assad said.

"When they saw one person had opened his bakery to sell bread, they began to feel scared. When they saw a student going to his university to offer knowledge to his country, they also got scared. So when we live our life and have as much of a normal life in the country, they will break down. So our challenge -- and to our fallen who we count as martyrs -- is to have our country move the way it did, as much as possible. God willing," he added.

Assad's public engagement came close on the heels of an Israeli air strike which according to an Israeli official was targeting a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah guerrillas in neighbouring Lebanon.

Syrian forces have mounted a string of attacks reaching from the capital Damascusand the central city of Homs out to the Mediterranean coast, homeland of the Alawite minority sect to which Assad himself belongs.

The two-year uprising against four decades of Assad family rule has been led bySyria's Sunni Muslim majority, and sectarian clashes and alleged massacres have become increasingly common in a conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people.