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Thousands turn out for pro-Assad rallies in Syria

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Thousands turn out for pro-Assad rallies in Syria


Tens of thousands of Syrians have turned out for rallies held in support of their President Bashar al-Assad. State television showed people waving the country’s tricolour flag, carrying pictures of their leader and with red, white and black balloons.

All this came the day after Assad made what critics describe as vague promises about political reform in a televised speech.

There are reports of large crowds in Aleppo, Damascus and the southern city of Deraa, where anti-government protests first broke out in March.

The Syrian government has taken journalists and diplomats to the fought-over town of Jisr-al-Shughour. Footage shot under supervision appeared to show shelled buildings, burnt-out cars and a mass grave where bodies were being retrieved.

Officials say armed men had killed 29 military police officers. But there is no way of verifying these claims.

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