Saturday, April 21, 2018

Assad's supporters abroad vote in Syrian election

YARZE, Lebanon — Tens of thousands of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad voted Wednesday at embassies abroad, clogging entrances to the Lebanese capital for hours before national elections widely expected to give him a third seven-year term.

But reflecting the schism within Syrian society, many of the estimated 2.5 million refugees scattered across neighboring countries were either excluded or abstained from the balloting, which they deemed a mockery.

The election is all but guaranteed to give the 49-year-old Syrian leader, whose family has ruled Syria for more than four decades, a new mandate to continue with his crushing of the armed rebellion.

Also Wednesday, U.S. officials, speaking to the New York Times on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a U.S. citizen working in Syria with a militant group backed by al-Qaida conducted a suicide bombing there Sunday, in what is believed to be the first time an American has been involved in such an attack.

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