BEIRUT Jan 6 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
made his first public appearance in months on Sunday, calling
for a "full national mobilisation" to fight against rebels he
described as al Qaeda terrorists.
"We meet today and suffering is overwhelming Syrian land.
There is no place for joy while security and stability are
absent on the streets of our country," Assad said in a speech at
the opera house in central Damascus. "The nation is for all and
we all must protect it."
The remarks were his first in public since a Russian
television interview in November when he pledged to stay in
Syria and fight to the death if necessary. A 21-month uprising
against Assad has become a civil war that the United Nations
says has killed 60,000 people.