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Supporters mob Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad makes a rare public appearance on Saturday to unveil a statue at Damascus University. Huge crowds of supporters turned out for the event broadcast by state TV - surrounding Assad and cheering as patriotic music blared. The public engagement comes close on the heels of an Israeli air strike reportedly targeting a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah guerrillas in neighbouring Lebanon. Assad's forces have mounted a string of attacks from the capital Damascus and the city of Homs out to the Mediterranean Coast. More than 70,000 people have died in the two year uprising led by Syria's Sunni Muslim majority against four decades of Assad family rule.

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