Bashar al-Assad attended the swearing-in of his new defense minister on Thursday, Syrian state television said, the first sign of the president since an audacious rebel attack the day before struck at the heart of his regime and killed three senior officials.
Wednesday's deadly bombing of a high-level security meeting a day earlier struck the harshest blow yet to Assad's regime and made Assad's hold on power look tenuous.
The whereabouts of Assad , his wife and their three young children have been a mystery since the attack that killed his brother-in-law and his defense minister. Assad does not appear in public frequently , and his absence was notable following such a serious blow his inner circle.
The state TV announcement appeared aimed at sending the message that Assad is alive, well and still firmly in charge. It said President Assad wished the new defense minister good luck but it did not say where the swearing-in took place.
The White House said it showed Assad was "losing control" of the country.
Syrian television confirmed the deaths of defence minister Dawoud Rajha, 65, a former army general and the most senior government official to be killed in the rebels' battle to oust Assad; Gen Assef Shawkat, 62, the deputy defence minister who is married to Assad's elder sister, Bushra, and is one of the most feared figures in the inner circle; and Hassan Turkmani, 77, a former defence minister.