Libya on Wednesday recognized Syria’s opposition National Council as the country’s legitimate authority, as tens of thousands of Syrians rallied in support of President Bashar al-Assad in the northern city of Aleppo and Assad’s troops pressed an ongoing offensive to crush the seven-month-old uprising against his rule.

The opposition council has pledged to seek international protection to stop civilian deaths and has called for the uprising to remain peaceful.

“We ask other countries . . . to take the same path as Libya,” Syrian opposition activist Wael Razak said at a news conference in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

The state-organized rally in Aleppo, Syria’s commercial hub, came a week after a similar gathering in the capital, Damascus.

Meanwhile, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 people were killed Wednesday across central Homs province, including seven soldiers. Seven people were also killed in army raids in the villages around the town of Qusair, near the Lebanese border, activists said.

— Reuters