A Syrian protester gestures victory signs behind their national flag
Syrians fight on for victory Reuters

Syria is still at war - one year after the uprising against the rule of Bashar al-Assad started.

As Syrians marked the first anniversary of the revolt Assad's crackdown on protesters and opposition members has shown no signs of stopping.

Instead, the army has made advances in Idlib province and an increasing military presence has been deployed in Daraa.

After gaining control of Homs the army turned its attention to Idlib in northwest Syria, pounding the city which had been one of the Free Syrian Army strongholds.

Syrian forces backed by tanks also entered the southern province of Daraa where the uprising started after a group of children were arrested for scribbling anti-regime graffiti and reports emerged of them being tortured.

Friends of Assad

Clashes with the Free Syrian Army were reported in both cities.

Meanwhile pro-Assad demonstrations were organised in Damascus with thousands of residents pledging their support for the government and against the "year-old conspiracy".

Activists warn that most of those rallies were organised by the regime, with people forced to attend - a technique the government has used since long before the uprising.

Nonetheless, despite more than 7,500 deaths over the year of the uprising the Syrian regime still enjoy some support.

The inner coterie of the people running the country have not been immune to defections, however. The highest political figure to defect to date is Abdo Hussameddin, the former deputy oil minister.

The international community is still divided over what to do about the conflict. While the Gulf states have called for arming the opposition, countries such as France say it would be too dangerous and could push the country into all-out civil war.

Whilevideos and images of torture by the regime are uploaded on a daily basis on social networks, any concrete action by the UN Security Council is limited by Russia and China's threat to veto any resolutions that could help shift the balance of power towards the opposition.

The UN continues to try mediation but efforts are having little effect. Kofi Anan visited Damascus recently but both the regime and the opposition still refuse to talk to each other.

Exodus Builds

Meanwhile, Assad's message is clear: the uprising is led by terrorist groups that pillage cities, kill civilians and which are backed by foreign powers. He has yet to name any of them.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said shortly before the first anniversary of the uprising that four members of the same family were burnt alive by security forces for sheltering members of the opposition. More horror stories emerge every day.

Syrians have started to flee their country en masse with both Lebanon and Turkey reporting an increase in the influx of refugees but the relief they receive is far from adequate, local NGOs have warned.

Assad's ship might be slowly sinking, but the revolution is becoming increasingly militarised, the opposition is still divided, and sectarianism and religion are being manipulated by both sides. And innocent civilians and army defectors continue to die as it goes on.

What ordinary Syrians have shown over the last year is that even with little outside help, they remain resolute in their decision to stand against the regime and continue to fight for their rights and to consign Assad's Syria firmly in the past.