- Title: SYRIA: Syrian youth stage pro-Assad rally in Damascus
- Date: 1st October 2013
- Summary: DAMASCUS, SYRIA (OCTOBER 1, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF YOUNG PRO-ASSAD PROTESTERS MARCHING ON STREETS AND DOING VICTORY SIGN VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CHANTING PRO-ASSAD SLOGANS FEMALE PROTESTERS LINED UP CARRYING SYRIAN FLAGS AND CHANTING PRO-ASSAD AND PRO-ARMY SLOGANS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RIMON MASSOUD, MEMBER OF THE LEADERSHIP OF THAWRA YOUTH UNION, SAYING: "We welcome their stay (UN inspectors) because we do not have anything to hide. Syria announced clearly that it is ready to hand over its chemical arsenal." MORE OF YOUNG FEMALE PROTESTERS CHANTING IN PROTEST YOUNG MALE PROTESTERS CHANTING PRO-ASSAD SLOGANS CARS DRIVING PAST PROTEST (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOUHAB ABDO, STUDENT, SAYING: "We tell them (UN Inspectors) that we did not use chemical weapons and that we agreed on the decision and we will become members of the global anti-chemical weapons treaty." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NADINE, MEMBER OF THAWRA YOUTH UNION, SAYING: "We did not use them (chemical weapons) and we will not use them." VARIOUS OF THE DEMONSTRATION VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CARRYING SIGN OF THAWRA YOUTH UNION FEMALE PROTESTERS STANDING IN PROTEST AND WAVING SYRIAN FLAGS CLOSE OF FEMALE PROTESTERS CHANTING PRO-ASSAD SLOGANS MORE OF CARS DRIVING PAST PROTEST
- Embargoed: 16th October 2013 13:00
- Location: Syrian Arab Republic
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflict,General,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5HTOYYHRV2Y23JZ0V9SYMD85I
- Story Text: Syrian youth activists staged a rally in the capital Damascus on Tuesday (October 1) to voice their support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
The demonstration was organised by 'Thawra Youth Union', a group of young Syrian activists.
Protesters chanted pro-Assad slogans as they marched through the streets carrying Syrian flags and pictures of Assad.
U.N. chemical weapons inspectors investigating allegations of chemical and biological weapons use during Syria's civil war left Damascus on Monday (September 30) after their second mission in two months.
Another team of U.N. experts, charged with starting the process of verifying and eliminating Syria's chemical weapons, landed in Beirut on Monday.
Their mission, endorsed by the U.N. Security Council last week, was hammered out by Washington and Moscow after an August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus prompted U.S. threats of air strikes against the Syrian government.
Inspectors who were in the country at the time confirmed that sarin gas was used in the attack.
Rimon Massoud, a member of the Thawra Youth Union, welcomed the U.N. inspectors' investigation, saying that his country has nothing to hide.
"We welcome their stay (U.N. inspectors) because we do not have anything to hide. Syria announced clearly that it is ready to hand over its chemical arsenal," said Massoud.
Under a joint Russian-U.S. proposal, Syria has committed to destroying its chemical weapons arsenal within nine months. It is believed to comprise around 1,000 metric tonnes of sarin, mustard and XV nerve agents.
"We tell them (U.N. Inspectors) that we did not use chemical weapons and that we agreed on the decision and we will become members of the global anti-chemical weapons treaty," said another protester.
Syria became a full member of the global anti-chemical weapons treaty in September, the country's U.N. envoy said, a move that Assad's government had promised as part of a Russian plan to avoid U.S. air strikes.
Assad's Western opponents said the inspectors' report left little doubt that his forces were to blame for the attack.
Syrian authorities denied the accusation, and Russia has said the inspectors' report did not provide irrefutable proof that Assad's forces were responsible.
One female protester from the same union denied Syria's use of chemical weapons.
"We did not use them (chemical weapons) and we will not use them," said Nadine.
Assad's government blames the rebels for the Damascus attack.
Washington blames the government and says the sarin gas used in it killed more than 1,400 people, including many children.
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