Oct.12 - A large rally in Damascus in support of President Bashar al-Assad, who is under pressure from dissidents and international powers to reform or step down. Travis Brecher reports.
Tens of thousands of Syrians fill a public square in the capital Damascus - part of a government-sponsored rally in support of President Bashar al-Assad. Assad - initially confident his country would be unaffected by the 'Arab Spring' - has faced widespread protests against his rule since March. And - according to a U.N. tally - his regime's crackdown has resulted in nearly 3,000 civilian deaths. But here in the capital, supporters wave Syrian flags before a poster of the authoritarian ruler. One pro-regime cleric has endless praise for his leader. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED CLERIC, SAYING: "The angels are now here and saying: 'Oh Bashar al-Assad, God loves you, and the angels love you, and your people love you and everyone on earth and in heaven loves you." Unlike al-Assad, the majority of Syrians are Sunnis who -- along with minority Kurds -- have dominated opposition to the regime, and have called for democratic reforms in Syria. Travis Brecher, Reuters