Damascus: Huge crowds rallied in cities
across Syria on Thursday in support of President Bashar al-Assad "to
make the world hear our voice" on the first anniversary of a
deadly anti-regime revolt.
State television showed tens of thousands of people
waving Syrian flags and Assad`s portrait in squares in
Damascus, the northern city of Aleppo, Latakia on the
Mediterranean coast, Suweida to the south and Hasaka in the
The cities have been relatively unscathed by the
regime`s crackdown on a revolt which erupted on March 15, 2011
and has cost more than 8,500 lives, according to opposition
"After a whole year of pressure on Syria, we want to
make the world hear our voice: Leave Syria in peace," a woman
on the street told the state broadcaster.
The authorities, which have blamed the revolt on
foreign-backed "terrorist gangs," announced a "global march
for Syria" to counter anti-regime demonstrations being
organised by the opposition across the world.
"For the lives lost in the battle for Syria," was the
slogan beamed across the television screen.
Against a backdrop of a sea of flags, including the
colours of Syria`s Russian ally and the yellow of Lebanon`s
Shiite militant group Hezbollah, a bugler played in Damascus
before a military band struck up the national anthem.
Last week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
gave a breakdown of around 8,500 deaths: apart from 6,200
civilians, it said the toll included more than 1,800 members
of Assad`s security forces and over 400 rebels.(AFP)