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SYDNEY (Aug 5, 2012): Hundreds of people rallied in Australia on Sunday in support of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, urging no intervention by foreign powers in the conflict.

Demonstrators walk behind a banner during a march in Sydney on August 5, 2012 held in support of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad and against the intervention of foreign powers in Syria. AFP

Organised by a group calling itself “Hands off Syria”, the demonstration began with a short rally of several hundred people at Sydney’s town hall but numbers swelled as the group, many of them families, marched through the city.

“I am here to show my support for the president and the people of Syria,” one young woman draped in the Syrian flag told AFP.

A young girl holds a placard during a march in Sydney on August 5, 2012 held in support of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad and against the intervention of foreign powers in Syria. AFP

“We have to expose the lies that have been (made) through the media.”

Protesters waving Syrian flags and carrying banners which read “Thank you Russia and China 4 vetoes” and “Let the whole world hear: Syria is our nation, Bashar is our leader”, the group marched to government offices in central Sydney.

Hanadi Assoud, one of the organisers of the event, said the protesters were against the United States or NATO intervening in Syria, where the conflict has reportedly claimed more than 21,000 lives since the uprising against Assad’s regime erupted in March 2011.

She also accused the media of misrepresenting the conflict, saying that opposition forces had been responsible for any killings that had taken place.

“Why would the government kill its own people?” she said.

She said those marching wanted to have their voices heard in Australia after comments by Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who has condemned the Assad regime.

“We know that Bob Carr has got an agenda. He was saying that the Assad regime must go. How can he be so biased?” Assoud told AFP.

Syria closed its embassy in Australia in late July, two months after Canberra expelled the Syrian charge d’affaires along with one other diplomat over the killings of more than 100 people in Houla. – AFP