Syria's Assad Makes Rare Public Appearance Bashar al-Assad tells supporters he wants to 'draw strength' from them By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jan 11, 2012 8:13 AM CST 1 comment Comments Syrian President Bashar al-Assad delivers a speech during a rare public appearance in Damascus on January 11, 2012. (Getty Images) (Newser) – President Bashar al-Assad hasn't exactly been a man of the people since the Syrian uprising began, but today he joined thousands of supporters at a Damascus rally, the AP reports. "I wanted to be with you so I can draw strength from you in the face of everything that Syria is subjected to," said a casually-dressed Assad, who was flanked by security guards. "It was important that we maintain our faith in the future," he continued. "I have that faith in the future and we will undoubtedly triumph over this conspiracy." Yesterday, Assad gave a rare speech, in which he threatened to fight back with an "iron fist" against the foreign conspirators he blames for the uprising.