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Syria VP Dispels Defection Rumors

  • VOA News

Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa, meets in Damascus, Syria with Alaeddin Boroujerdi, not shown, the head of Iran's powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy ending rumors that Al-Sharaa had defected to Jordan, August

Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa, meets in Damascus, Syria with Alaeddin Boroujerdi, not shown, the head of Iran's powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy ending rumors that Al-Sharaa had defected to Jordan, August

Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa has appeared in public for the first time in weeks, ending speculation that he had defected from President Bashar al-Assad's embattled government.

The 73-year-old Sunni Muslim met Sunday with a visiting senior Iranian official in Damascus. Sharaa was last seen in public at a state funeral for security officials who died in a July 18 bomb blast.

The Assad government has seen a number of high-level defections in recent months, and up until Sunday, there had been rumors that Sharaa had defected to Jordan, despite the government's denials.

Meanwhile, a Syrian watchdog group says hundreds of people were killed across the country Saturday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the final death toll for the day was 370, with nearly 200 bodies found in Daraya, near the capital.

The number of corpses in Daraya and when they died could not be independently confirmed. However, video footage reported to be from Daraya showed a large group of victims. Syrian forces had focused a five-day onslaught on rebel fighters in the town to regain control of the outskirts of Damascus.

Activists say Syrian forces with tanks and combat helicopters also launched new raids in other cities.

On Saturday, SANA said armed forces killed an unspecified number of "terrorists" in Aleppo and destroyed seven vehicles equipped with machine guns.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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