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Syria's Assad in rare visit as rockets hit capital

AMMAN, Jordan — Syrian President Bashar Assad made a rare public appearance at a Damascus power station Wednesday, while two bombs exploded near the city center, killing one and wounding more than two dozen people, Syria's state news agency reported.

Footage of the visit broadcast on state television showed Assad chatting casually with a group of employees, two days after his prime minister narrowly escaped assassination by an explosion and a day after another major bombing in the capital took the lives of at least 14.

SANA said a 10-year-old boy was killed and 28 people wounded, some seriously, in Wednesday's attack, when bombs went off in Khaled Bin Walid street and the nearby Bab Mesalla square. It said the bombs were planted by "terrorists," a term the government uses to describe rebels fighting to topple the Syrian leader.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Bab Mesalla explosion was near a police station and came from rocket fire. It said the blast left casualties but did not have figures on dead or wounded. It also said that several people, including children, were wounded in the explosion in Khaled Bin Walid street.

Police had sealed off Bab Mesalla, which has restaurants, shops and a main public transportation station.

Assad's visit to the Umayyad Electrical Station in the Tishrin Park district came on International Workers Day, or May Day. State TV showed the Syrian leader addressing the station's staff and later shaking their hands.

"They want to scare us, we will not be scared," Assad told workers. "We hope that by this time next year we will have overcome the crisis in our country," he said.

Syria's Assad in rare visit as rockets hit capital 05/01/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 10:15pm]
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