Syria’s Assad returns to public eye with ally Iran
BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar Assad made his first appearance on state TV in nearly three weeks Tuesday in a show of solidarity with a senior Iranian envoy even as the U.S. secretary of state urged stepped up international planning for the regime’s collapse.
The contrasts couldn’t have been more vivid: Assad and Iran’s Saeed Jalili vowing to defeat the rebels and their backers, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton predicted Assad’s regime was quickly unraveling, with high-level defections such as his prime minister’s switch to the rebel side.
It also highlighted Assad’s deepening reliance on a shrinking list of allies, led by Tehran. Assad — seen on state TV for the first time since a July 18 bombing in Damascus killed four of his top security officials — used Jalili’s visit to portray a sense of command and vowed to fight his opponents “relentlessly.”