AMMAN (AP) — Syria's vice president has appeared in public for the first time in several weeks, ending rumors that he had defected.
Reporters saw Farouk al-Sharaa get out of his car today and walk into his Damascus office for a meeting with a senior Iranian official.
An Associated Press reporter saw him at the door of his office, shaking hands with the head of Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy. He did not say anything to reporters.
Al-Sharaa was last seen at the funeral of four top security officials killed in a blast in Damascus on July 18. Since then, there had been rumors that he defected to Jordan, though al-Sharaa's office and Jordan repeatedly denied he defected.
There have been a series of high-level defections from the Assad regime in the past few months.
124-c-14-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)-"an Iranian official"-AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo reports Syria's vice president has been seen for the first time in weeks. (26 Aug 2012)
<<CUT *124 (08/26/12)>> 00:14 "an Iranian official"
APPHOTO CAI109: Alaeddin Boroujerdi, left, head of Iran's powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy meets with Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa , ending rumors that Al-Sharaa had defected to Jordan in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, August 26, 2012. Al-Sharaa's defection would have been a blow to Bashar Assad's regime but Jordan and Al-Sharaa's office had repeatedly denied that he defected. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi) (26 Aug 2012)
<<APPHOTO CAI109 (08/26/12)>>