Struggle-torn Syria goes to polls


Damascus (Syria), May 26

Syrians in government-held areas of the war-torn country headed to polling stations early Wednesday to vote in a presidential election set to give President Bashar Assad a fourth seven-year term.

The vote is the second presidential election since the country’s conflict began 10 years ago and has been dismissed as a sham by the opposition and Western countries.

Two other candidates are running for the country’s top post, which has been held by members of the Assad family for five decades.

They are little known figures, Abdullah Salloum Abdullah and Mahmoud Ahmad Marie. But competition with Assad is largely seen as symbolic.

Starting at 7 am, thousands began arriving at polling stations in Damascus, where streets have been decorated with giant posters of Assad and banners praising his rule. Few posters of the two other candidates appeared in the streets.

No vote will be held in northeast Syria, which is controlled by U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters, or in the northwestern province of Idlib that is the last major rebel stronghold in the country. AP



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