June 3, 2014 By

Syrians Vote Amidst Battle; Assad Poised to Be Back



The Reuters News Agency reported that Syrians voted on Tuesday in an election which is expected to deliver an overwhelming victory to President Bashar al-Assad in the midst of a civil war that has fractured the country and killed more than 160,000 people.

Assad’s opponents including rebel fighters, the political opposition in exile, Western powers and Gulf Arabs have dismissed the election as a charade, saying no credible vote can be held in a country where wide swathes of territory are outside state control and millions of people have been displaced.

Insurgents battling to overthrow Assad stepped up attacks in government-controlled areas in the buildup to the election, seeking to disrupt the vote.

Assad Fans Celebrate


On the other side of the picture, supporters of Bashar al-Assad have gathered in large numbers in the street, celebrating in advance the much anticipated outcome. According to Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East Editor, Damascus is teeming with the supporters of Assad. “Market stalls sell Assad souvenirs; pendants featuring images of the President and his family next to bracelets of President Assad with his vital ally, Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah. Or you can buy yellow Hezbollah rubber bangles, or fridge magnets of Bashar al-Assad, his father, brothers, and allies. Also, Posters featuring both President Assad and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah are increasingly popular

Facebook Takes Flak


Meanwhile, the Social networking site Facebook came in for much criticism for sponsoring posts that are designed to push readers towards the Facebook page for Sawa, Assad’s reelection campaign (the word “Sawa” means “together” in Arabic).

According to Facebook, the sponsored content has already been taken down. But human-rights activists under the banner of Syria Campaign are now demanding that the social networking giant give any money it received for the campaign to charities for Syrian children. The organisation called on Facebook to refuse access to its services to the political campaign of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, ahead of tomorrow’s election in the country.


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