Syria's Assad makes rare appearance at public rally

Syrian President Bashar Assad has made an extremely rare public appearance, joining thousands of his supporters waving flag and portraits of the leader in a central Damascus square.

Assad was surrounded by security guards when he appeared in the crowd, dressed more casually than usual in a jacket but no tie.

He told the crowd he had an "overwhelming desire" to be among them. Assad has made very few public appearances since the uprising against his regime began 10 months ago.