Hundreds of thousands of Syrians thronged the main square of the capital on Thursday to support a second seven-year term for President Bashar Assad. The rally of more 300,000 came ahead of a referendum on Sunday when voters are expected to approve a second mandate for Assad, who succeeded his farther Hafez Assad in 2000 at the helm of Syria's autocratic regime. There are no other candidates. The demonstration was headed by a number of Syrian officials and ministers. It was one of several rallies held across Syria since parliament, dominated by the ruling Baath Party, unanimously nominated 41-year-old Assad for a second term.