While rumors as to the whereabouts of Syrian President Bashar Assad continue to swirl following an attack that killed four senior regime officials, on Thursday Syrian state media broadcast images of the embattled leader allegedly swearing in the country's new defense minister.
SCROLL DOWN FOR QUESTIONABLE PHOTOS OF BASHAR ASSAD.
Assad's appearance on state TV, however, did little to settle rumors because the ceremony did not take place before the public. As the Associated Press notes, "The state TV announcement appeared aimed at sending the message that Assad is alive and well. It said Assad, dressed in a blue suit and tie, wished the new defense minister good luck but it did not say where the swearing-in took place."
This photo was released Thursday to corroborate the official story on Syrian media:
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, meets with Fahd Jassem al-Freij, Syria's new defense minister, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, July 19, 2012. (AP Photo/SANA)
Assad appears to be in the same room as in this photo from May 9, 2012, when the Syrian president met with U.N. envoy Kofi Annan:
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows United Nations-Arab League special envoy to Syria Kofi Anan, left, meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria, Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP Photo/SANA)
Though another new photo showing Assad and Syria's new defense minister, also released Thursday, seems just questionable enough to raise eyebrows:
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Fahd Jassem al-Freij, Syria's new defense minister, left, is sworn in before Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, July 19, 2012. (AP Photo/SANA)
If so, it probably wouldn't be the first time Syria has doctored official photos. Check out the slideshow below for pictures released by SANA, Syria's official state media, that seem to have enhanced Assad's image in some form or another.
Note: Author is not a qualified image expert, just a man with eyes. Launch Fullscreen to get a better look at the photos below.