Assad says Western criticism of Syria vote has ‘zero value’

Syria’s President Bashar Assad says Western criticism of today’s presidential election as “neither free nor fair” has “zero value” as he casts his ballot in a Damascus suburb.

Voting is being held only in government-controlled areas.

The United States and the European Union said yesterday in a joint statement: “This fraudulent election does not represent any progress towards a political settlement.”

Assad and his British-born wife Asma both cast their votes in the suburb of Douma, a key rebel stronghold before it was retaken by government forces in 2018.

Other voters surround Assad at the polling station chanting: “With our blood and with our souls, we sacrifice our lives for you, Bashar.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad (C) and his wife Asma (R) cast their votes at a polling station in Douma, near Damascus on May 26, 2021 (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
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