Assad in rare appearance: Enemy has IsraHelli weapons



Syrian president makes rare public appearance at annual memorial ceremony for 1973 war; compares war to current crisis. Meanwhile, dozens more killed in infighting

President Bashar Assad made a rare appearance on Saturday at the annual memorial ceremony honoring Syrians who died in the 1973 war with Israel.
Assad first laid a wreath before the ‘anonymous soldier’ monument in Damascus. The wreath was presented to him by two orphans who lost their fathers during the war. Later he took part in a public prayer session.
Syrian national television aired the ceremony and praised the “magnificent Syrian victory that brought pride to the Arab nation.” However, this time the national television station linked the 1973 war to current violent events in the country.
“There are many similarities between the current aggressive activity and the circumstances of the 1973 October war,” said Assad during the ceremony, “Syria is confronted with an enemy armed with Israeli and Western weapons aimed at destroying Syria, and its people are being punished for foiling the conspiracies of our neighboring countries.”
The national TV network stressed the claim that the current violence in Syria was instigated by a foreign conspiracy, while emphasizing the Syrian regime’s support for anti-Israeli organizations such as Hezbollah.
General Fahd Jassem al-Freij, chief of staff of the Syrian army, made a rare statement during the ceremony, saying the Syrian government is willing to grant amnesty to Syrian rebels who will express regret for their actions, while rebels who will not show remorse “will be squashed under the footsteps of our troops.”
al-Freij also said that the Syrian military will soon restore safety to the country, and that “the most dangerous parts of the conspiracy are behind us, and slaughtering is on its way down.”
Despite these statements, violence in Syria is showing no signs of calming down.
Syrian activists told foreign news agencies that approximately 60 people were killed during the fights between the army and the rebels on Saturday. Approximately 30,000 were killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war 18 months ago.
Memorials for the 1973 war took place Egypt as well. This year marked the first time the memorial ceremonies were held under the Muslim Brotherhood regime. President Mohamed Morsi laid a wreath on slain president Anwar Sadat’s grave.

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