One Year On, Syria Rallies for Assad
Gov't increasingly confident of putting down opposition
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2012 8:35 AM CDT
A Syrian demonstrator holds a portrait of President Bashar Al-Assad during a pro-regime rally in Damascus, on March 7, 2012.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – One year after the start of violent uprisings in Syria, thousands of flag-waving supporters gathered in Damascus to show their loyalty toward President Bashar al-Assad, reports Reuters. Rallies were also reported in several other Syrian cities, as the military stepped up its assault on rebel strongholds such as Homs and Idlib. "Security and peace of mind returned to the city of Idlib after authorities cleared its neighborhoods of armed terrorist groups which had terrorized citizens," said Syria's official news agency.

Despite a national holiday today, the government ordered everyone to go to work—reportedly to make it easier to bus in state workers for the rally, according to the New York Times. As army attacks against the insurgency have reportedly been going well, the government appears to be gaining confidence, and the exile opposition group the Syrian National Council is fracturing. “What happened in Homs is betrayal,” said one dissident who resigned from the Syrian National Council. “There is a sense of irresponsibility on the part of the council.”