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MAN OF THE PEOPLE Al-Assad Defiant in Public Speech AFP / Getty Images

Al-Assad Defiant in Public Speech

Chalk this one up as positive PR. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad made his first public appearance in 10 months Wednesday, addressing a crowd of tens of thousands in Damascus. The audience cheered for al-Assad, as he said that the government would defeat the foreign conspirators it claims are behind the violence in the nation. Next to him were his wife and two children. In the 10-minute speech, al-Assad said he “belong[s] to this street.” The speech comes a day after his two-hour televised address to the nation. Meanwhile, in Homs, a French journalist was killed when violence struck a pro-government rally. As for the Arab League, one of the 165 monitors resigned, saying the entire operation was a “farce.” The U.N. estimates that more than 5,000 have been killed in al-Assad’s crackdown.

January 11, 2012 4:11 PM