Syrian regime holds local polls despite refugee crisis

Damascus conducts first municipal elections since conflict erupted in 2011

Syrian regime holds local polls despite refugee crisis

The Syrian regime has conducted local polls countrywide despite the large number of refugees still outside the country and the large internally-displaced population.

They are Syria’s first local elections since the country’s devastating conflict erupted in 2011.

Polling stations opened their doors at 08:00 a.m. local time (05:00 GMT) Sunday morning and closed at midnight the same day.

The polls were contested by numerous candidates from the ruling Baath Party and others who enjoy close ties to the Assad regime.

Voter turnout appeared low even though civil servants and military and security personnel were threatened with the loss of their jobs unless they cast ballots.

Along with regime-held areas, polling centers were also set up in areas held by the YPG/PKK terrorist group in Syria’s northeastern Al-Hasakah province.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.