Assad AWOL as Executions Rumored in Aleppo

Free Syrian Army gains anti-aircraft missiles
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2012 7:40 AM CDT
Assad AWOL as Aleppo Rages
This image made from amateur video released by the Ugarit News and accessed Monday, July 30, 2012, purports to show Free Syrian Army soldiers in Anadan 10 miles from Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

As the battle for Aleppo grinds on in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad's location remains a big question mark. Today, to mark Armed Forces Day, Assad published a message in the military's magazine encouraging his troops. But, though the president has been seen on TV, he has not appeared in public since a bombing last month killed four of his close aides. Today's message did not make his whereabouts clear—which indicates there is a lot of concern for his security, Reuters notes.

Meanwhile, a huge help for the rebels in Aleppo: The Free Syrian Army has received almost two dozen anti-aircraft missiles from Turkey, which could help turn the battle around, NBC News reports. Fighting is ongoing in the strategically important city, where rebels are now said to be executing government forces—in the same way those forces have been accused of executing rebels in Damascus. Videos appear to show some of these executions, but could not be immediately verified by Reuters. (More Bashar al-Assad stories.)

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