Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third term in office, at a ceremony in his palace in Damascus.
It follows an election last month which took place only in government-held areas and was described by his critics as a “parody of democracy”. Assad took 88.7 percent of the vote.
In a speech during the swearing-in ceremony, he vowed to fight insurgents in the civil war until security was restored to the whole country.
In this warning to those who have backed rebels, he said: “Soon we will see that all Arab, neighbouring and Western countries who have supported terrorism will pay a heavy price.”
Assad’s forces, backed by Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, have regained control of much territory north of the capital over the past year.
But large parts of the north and east remain in rebel hands, including those of Islamic militants.