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Mosque gathering becomes rally against Assad [Video]

March 9, 2012 |  5:21 pm

Syrians chant "God protect you, Free Syrian Army" in a mosque in this video purportedly from the Midan neighborhood of Damascus. Opposition activists gather en masse on Fridays for protests against President Bashar Assad; this video posted by Syrian dissidents is said to show one of those demonstrations.

Besides shouting their support for the rebels, the crowd also chants in support of Homs, a battered city in central Syria that has been at the heart of the uprising and the ensuing crackdown.

The uprising against Assad has raged for nearly a year in Syria. The United Nations has condemned the government for rampant human rights abuses and backed a plan that calls for Assad to step down. Opposition leaders have called for foreign military intervention.

“Any political solution will not succeed if it is not accompanied by military pressure on the regime," the head of the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, told the Associated Press.

Syrian leaders have resisted the international pressure, saying they are under attack from "armed terrorists." State-run news media say the army is being unfairly blamed for atrocities carried out by the rebels.

Because media access is restricted in Syria, The Times cannot confirm the exact events shown in these videos. The Syrian government often argues that amateur footage from activists is staged.

But because journalists face such limitations in Syria, the online videos have played a role in offering potential insight into what is happening in the country. Here are three more glimpses of Syria today, as seen through the amateur footage:

Shots ring out in the video above, which purportedly shows clashes between Free Syrian Army rebels and  government troops. The video, uploaded to YouTube on Friday by an opposition activist news network, shows what appears to be a tank in the Damascus suburbs.

This video purports to show a young man being arrested by uniformed officers outside a mosque in the coastal city of Latakia on Friday amid protests. The clip was distributed by an opposition activist network.

The men in this video are purportedly plainclothes enforcers for the Assad regime patrolling the Mezze neighborhood of Damascus, which hosted a large demonstration weeks ago. In a strange touch, there's a cow mooing nearby. It was uploaded Friday by opposition activists.


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-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut and Emily Alpert in Los Angeles