The Latest: Large rally in Damascus supporting Assad's army

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The Latest: Large rally in Damascus supporting Assad's army
Syrians walk in the Hamidiyeh Market, in the Old City of Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April 15, 2018. Syria’s President Bashar Assad spoke Sunday to a group of visiting Russian politicians saying that Western airstrikes against his country was accompanied by a campaign of “lies” and misinformation in the U.N. Security Council. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Hundreds of Syrians have gathered in a landmark square in the capital of Damascus in support of their armed forces, which they say succeeded in confronting the unprecedented joint airstrikes by the West over the weekend.

Monday’s rally in in Omayyad Square is being broadcast live on Syrian state media.

The protesters are waving Syrian flags at the demonstration, dubbed a “salute to the achievements of the Arab Syrian Army.” They set off fireworks and unleashed celebratory gunfire.

Shouts of “Allah, Syria, and only Bashar,” a reference to Syrian President Bashar Assad rang out.

Syrian media, Russian and Syrian officials have sought to downplay the impact of the joint airstrikes, saying the Syrian air defenses have intercepted most of the missiles. The Pentagon says no missiles were engaged.