DHAKA: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made his first appearance in public since a bomb attack in Damascus last month killed several senior officials.
State TV showed 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, reports the BBC.
Parts of Aleppo and Rastan have been shelled, and clashes reported in Herak, Deraa province, the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Protests were held at cemeteries and mosques around Syria including Damascus, Hama and Idlib, opposition activists said.
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.
BDST: 0050 HRS, AUG 20
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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