Syria votes today in the country’s first multicandidate presidential election.
While the government is presenting it as a solution to the conflict, its critics are calling it a farce.
Widely seen as a foregone conclusion that President Bashar al-Assad will win, there are two other nominal candidates – lawmaker Maher Hajjar and businessman Hassan al.Nouri.
While the latter says he is seriously challenging Assad, others say both are just token gestures to give a democratic gloss.
The UN has warned that the election is likely to extend the civil war.
Voting will occur only in government held territory, most of the 2.5 million refugees scattered in neighbouring countries don’t have a vote and the Western-backed opposition group is boycotting the poll.
Assad’s camp claim it will be a test of his national support.