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Syria: President Bashar al-Assad appears on TV

The TV appearance is the first time Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has been seen since a bomb attack killed three of his top deputies.

Syria bashar al assad damascus 2012 7 18Enlarge
A depiction of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the country's national flag. A bomb struck at the heart of Syria's senior command in Damascus Wednesday, killing at least three of Assad's top brass in an attack claimed by rebels who warned of more carnage to come. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian's Bashar al-Assad appeared on state television today, the Associated Press reported. It’s the first time the Syrian president has been seen since a rebel bomb attack killed three of his top deputies, including his brother-in-law and defense minister, on Wednesday.

More from GlobalPost: Syria: Damascus bombing kills defense minister, top officials (LIVE BLOG)

According to the AP, a TV news report showed Assad swearing in his new defense minister at an unnamed location. It is unclear where Assad, his wife and their three young children are currently located.

Meanwhile, government security forces hit back against rebels in Damascus and beyond today in retaliation for Wednesday’s bomb attack, Bloomberg News reported.

The Local Coordination Committees in Syria told Bloomberg News that at least 77 people had been killed across Syria today, and at least 130 people were killed on the outskirts of Damascus yesterday.

More from GlobalPost: Syria: Is the Bashar al-Assad regime crumbling?

Reuters reported that the Syrian army bombed a mosque in Deir al-Zor, 270 miles northeast of Damascus, today, killing at least 7 civilians. Syrian troops are battling rebels in the city.

"Shells hit the Fardos mosque in al-Jubeileh neighborhood at evening prayers, the last before Ramadan,” Abu al-Tayeb al-Deiri, an anti-regime activist, told Reuters. “The mosque was packed. Around 20 people were pulled from the rubble with missing limbs and bad wounds. The number of dead will likely rise.”

More from GlobalPost: Syria UN resolution vetoed by Russia, China; US says it does not support extending UN observer mission
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120719/syrian-president-bashar-al-assad-appears-tv