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Syrians in Lebanon Rush to Early Voting in Presidential Poll
Syrians living in Lebanon wait in front of Syrian Consulate General in Beirut to vote in Syria's presidential elections on May 20, 2021. (Hussam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Syrians in Lebanon Rush to Early Voting in Presidential Poll

Thousands of Syrian refugees and expats residing in Lebanon on Thursday rushed Damascus’ embassy in Beirut for early voting ahead of the May 26 presidential elections.

Many of the masses of would-be voters, most of them supporters of strongman incumbent President Bashar Assad, were bused to the embassy by the Syrian Workers Association, a pro-Syrian government group in Lebanon, Al Jazeera reported. Many of them carried signs in support of Assad. Lebanese protesters blocked roads and threw rocks at the cars and buses of the voters as they made their way to the embassy, Arab News reported.

Syrian voters also will cast their ballots in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in an election denounced by Western countries as a sham.

Assad, who over a decade ago began a ruthless crackdown against anti-government protesters which swiftly devolved into a catastrophic civil and regional war, is running against two candidates that have been approved by the presidency-controlled parliament and courts. The authoritarian ruler has already won the previous elections held during the war, clinching just under 90% of the vote in the 2014 contest which was also considered highly unfree and unfair.

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