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REPORT: Syria embassy in Lebanon extends presidential vote

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Polls opened on Wednesday for Syrian expats and legal refugees to cast their ballots in the Syrian presidential election, causing huge traffic jams around Beirut as voters flocked to the embassy in the region of Yarzeh.

Many students and employees were unable to arrive in time for their exams and workplaces as a result of the gridlock.

This as voters heading to the polls chanted the Syrian national anthem, heard from a distance from buses and cars decorated with photos of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Lebanese security forces and the Army deployed near the embassy in hopes of maintaining order.

In this regard, Lebanese troops moved to subdue a crowd of frenzied Syrian voters who tried to storm their embassy in Beirut to vote for President Bashar Assad.    

Thousands of Assad supporters had crowded the hilltop embassy and snarled traffic outside. Clashes broke out when the Syrians started clashing with the Lebanese soldiers in an effort to get into the embassy.

Meanwhile, the Syrian embassy in Beirut reported that it extended the vote until tomorrow (Thursday) due to the huge turnout.

Voting begins on Wednesday for Syrians outside the country, who are allowed to cast ballots at the embassy - as long as they have not left the country illegally, bypassing official routes, as many refugees have, while the vote is scheduled to be held in Syria on June 3.

Syrian President Assad is all but guaranteed a victory as opposition groups are boycotting the vote and balloting will only be held in government-controlled areas of the fragmented country, where rebels hold vast territory and where entire blocks have been destroyed and emptied of their original inhabitants because of the fighting.     

More than 160,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced from their homes since the uprising against Assad erupted in March 2011, then morphed into a civil war.



LBCI/AP


For more details, watch Yazbek Wehbe's full report in the video above

 

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