Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a public appearance at a military school compound for the children of dead Syrian soldiers on Wednesday on Syria’s Memorial Day following widely circulated rumors of his death in Israeli and Lebanese media.
In one example, the pan-Arab al-Watny newspaper reported on Tuesday that Assad was either killed or injured by one of his personal guards.
The report referred to a YouTube video claiming Assad’s death at the hands of one a personal Iranian guard, a video from something called Fix TV that offered no reporting but only a one-sentence placard saying that Assad was dead over a montage of photos of him accompanied by loud music.
Rumors of Assad’s death have been reported on numerous previous occasions.
In his remarks at the military school, Assad expressed gratitude for fallen Syrian soldiers and that it was an honor to meet with the sons and daughters of martyrs who had chosen to follow in their parents’ footsteps and join the military.
Assad also said the Syrian army “will soon reach the brave soldiers besieged in Jisr al-Shoghour Hospital,” Syrian state agency SANA reported on Wednesday, referring to the strategic Idlib town recently captured by rebels.
More than 40,000 soldiers in the Syrian army have died since the outbreak of the war in 2011 according to estimates from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.