Syrians vote in election certain to give Assad new mandate

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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrians in government-held areas or the war torn country are headed to polling stations to vote in presidential elections set to give President Bashar Assad a fourth seven-year term. The vote is the second since the country’s conflict began 10 years ago and has been dismissed as a sham by the opposition and Western countries. Two other candidates are running for the country’s top post, which has been held by members of the Assad family for five decades. They are little known figures, and their run against Assad is seen as largely symbolic. Starting 7 a.m. Wednesday, thousands began arriving at polling stations in Damascus, where streets have been decorated with giant posters of the president. 

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