Syrian officials have claimed a large turnout in the country’s presidential election which is expected to deliver an overwhelming victory for President Bashar al Assad.
Although it was nominally contested by two other candidates, internationally the process (in the midst of Syria’s devastating civil war) has been condemned as a charade.
Syrian state television showed long queues of people waiting to cast their ballots in polling stations under government control.
There is no doubt Assad does have strong support among Alawite, Christian and Druze communities who see him as a protector against radical Sunni Muslim insurgents.
But in rebel held areas amateur video showed opposition supporters staging a mock election, voting for the removal of Assad, using their shoes as ballots.
As the election took place fighting continued in Aleppo and a Damascus suburb.
Official election results are expected soon with Assad having been given another seven year term.
While the UN warned that the poll would most likely prolong the conflict, Assad expects it to be a vindication of his regime.