In the areas of Syria that remain under government control, citizens went to the polls Tuesday to cast a ballot in what's being called a "blood election" by those opposed to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
The vote is expected to give Assad another seven-year term, despite three years of chaos and bloodshed wrought by an insurgency and the subsequent government crackdown, The New York Times reported.
Voters reported feeling intimidated into casting a ballot at one of the more than 9,000 polling stations. State employees were bussed to the ballot box and ordered to vote. "Government warplanes whooshed over the city, and shelling and airstrikes could be heard from some rebel-held suburbs," the Times reported. No deaths were reported.
Citizens voted in the country's first election in more than five decades in which more than one candidate was on the ballot. Assad's opponents were little-known figures vetted by his government apparatus, "but both have praised him," the Times reported.
Though the outcome is a foregone conclusion, countless ballots won't be dropped in the box. Namely, those from the 160,000 who died in armed conflict over the past few years and the millions who have fled the country and live as refugees.
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