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Huge pro-Assad rally held in Damascus

Tens of thousands rally in support of Assad a day after speech in Syrian capital Damascus

AFP , Tuesday 21 Jun 2011
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Tens of thousands of people rallied Tuesday in central Damascus in support of President Bashar al-Assad, a day after he offered a national dialogue to end Syria's political crisis, an AFP correspondent said.

Omeyyades Square was turned into a sea of pro-Assad demonstrators, waving Syrian flags and the president's portrait, chanting, "We will sacrifice ourselves for you, Bashar!"

State television said a huge demonstration in support of Assad was also being held in Homs, a flashpoint city north of Damascus.

In a speech Monday, three months into anti-regime protests and a crackdown by security forces that has cost hundreds of lives, Assad said a national dialogue could lead to a new constitution but refused to reform Syria under "chaos."

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