Assad Shows Face in Damascus

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare appearance at a Damascus mosque Sunday, one day after rumors spread that the country’s vice president had defected. The Sunday appearance is the leader’s first since a bombing in the Syrian capital in July. Vice President Farouk al-Shara, whose defection Syria has denied, was not among the officials who appeared alongside Assad Sunday. Footage of Assad’s visit to the mosque shown on state television included a sermon in which Syria was described as the target of a Western plot that would not “defeat our Islam, our ideology, and our determination in Syria.”