Bashar al-Assad made a rare public appearance on Sunday to attend a prayer service to mark the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival, a Muslim holiday. It's the first time al-Assad's been seen in public since July 4. Elsewhere, Syrian opposition members rang in the holiday protesting Assad's continued reign. It was Assad's first public appearance since his brother-in-law and Defense Minister were killed in a suicide bombing in July. Fighting between the two sides has only gotten uglier since then, with most of the action focusing around the town of Aleppo. U.N special envoy for Syria Kofi Annan quit his position and was replaced by former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi. Assad's own brother lost his leg in a rebel bombing. Assad's battled real defections, like Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, and fake defections, like this week's rumors that Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa fled the country.
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