Thousands of people gathered in the heart of Syria to show their support and loyalty to President Bashar Al-Assad, whose fierce six-month battle to suppress an uprising has taken the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
”America, out, out, Syria will stay free,” chanted the crowd in the capital Damascus on Wednesday, many of them carrying pictures of Assad and Syrian flags.
Damascus has mostly been sheltered from anti-regime sentiment. Damascus residents told RT’s Tessa Arcilla, who witnessed the rally, that the capital citizens stand united around the Syrian current leader, though many of the residents would still welcome reforms.
What the demonstrators would indeed oppose is a decision coming from the outside. The belief that Syria’s choice should be made within the country was shared by most Damascus demonstrators.
“God, Syria and Bashar,” sang the students, elderly, rich and poor gathered for the rally. Their slogans warned the European Union not to intervene in their country.
Two military helicopters were spotted by RT’s crew circling low over the pro-Assad rally in the Syrian capital. The helicopters flew Russian and Chinese flags, to mark the two countries’ vetoing of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria last week. Drafted by France, Germany, Portugal and the UK, the resolutions called for harsh sanctions to punish the country for the ongoing brutal crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
Syria has been divided by six months of violent crackdowns on anti-regime protests that have left nearly 2,900 people dead, according to the UN. Pressure has been building on Assad to step down, including widening international sanctions against the regime.