BEIRUT — Thousands of Syrians rallied Thursday in Damascus in a display of loyalty to President Bashar Assad, waving flags under a slate gray sky to protest the anniversary of a rebellion that the government says is driven by terrorists, gangsters and extremists.
Outside the Syrian capital, however, tanks and snipers besieged opposition areas, including the southern city of Daraa where the uprising began a year ago, touched off by the arrest of a group of youths who scrawled anti-regime graffiti on a wall.
One year into the Syrian revolt, the fight to oust
“We know that this is a criminal regime, but we didn't expect it to reach this amount of killing,” Amer Mattar, a 26-year-old activist, told The Associated Press from Jordan, where he fled to safety after being arrested twice in Syria.
Despite widening international condemnation and biting sanctions,