Rebel Free Syrian Army chief calls for vote boycott

BEIRUT- The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army urged Syrians to boycott Tuesday's presidential election, calling it a "farce" run by a "criminal" regime.
The vote, which will be held only in territory controlled by the regime, is expected to see President Bashar al-Assad trounce two little-known rivals and gain a third seven-year mandate.

"O Syrians, historical duty, true patriotism and fears over the dangers threatening Syria and Syrians dictate that we must foil this farce by boycotting it completely," said General Abdullah al-Bashir.
In a video message to "all the Syrian people," he said "the regime is speaking of democratic elections' but the election "is not any different from past referendums."
Like his father before him, Assad was previously elected through a single-candidate referendum.
Bashir also said the vote will be taking place as war rages across Syria, where he said the "criminal" regime is putting pressure on citizens to go to the polls.
"By organising this farce the regime is confirming that it is not seeking any political solution but only wishes to consecrate the status quo... as if the situation is back in its control," said Bashir.
"This is a big lie," said Bashir, vowing that rebels will continue to battle to topple Assad.
In the past few months, Syrian forces have been gaining some ground in the country's three-year war.
Even though the opposition has seized significant swathes of territory, the regime still massively outguns the rebels with its regular army, air force, growing paramilitary force and elite fighters from Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah.

Friday, May 30th 2014

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