(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- As his forces continue to pound rebel forces in Syria's largest city of Aleppo, President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday made his first televised appearance in two weeks to promise that his government would rid the nation of "terrorists."
While the broadcast only showed al-Assad meeting with Saeed Jalili, the Iranian national security council secretary, state-run media said that the Syrian leader will show no mercy in dealing with rebels in the nearly 18-month-long civil war that has cost more than 20,000 lives.
Jalili also pledged his government's support in the Syrian cause, declaring that Iran was part of an "axis of resistance" against all outside forces -- presumably, the U.S. and the rest of the West.
Al-Assad has made himself relatively scarce since a bombing in Damascus last month killed four members of his inner circle, including his brother-in-law.
With his regime threatened, the non-stop artillery bombardment of Aleppo is intended to take full charge of Syria's commercial hub that has fallen under some rebel control. The battle has waged for more than three weeks, with neither side giving ground.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio