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Syria Held Parliamentary Elections Sunday

In this photo released on the official Facebook page of Syrian Presidency, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma vote at a polling station in the parliamentary elections in Damascus, Syria, July 19, 2020.

Syrians across government-held territory voted Sunday to elect 250 members of parliament.

People cast their ballots at more than 7,000 polling stations, including in areas that the army has recaptured from the opposition forces during the last two years.

Originally scheduled for April, the parliamentary elections were postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the backing of Russia and Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad controls more of the country’s territory than at any time during the war, while Kurdish forces control the northeast area and opposition forces only a northwest corner near the Turkish border.

It is expected that the ruling Baath party and its allies will win again, marking Assad’s 20 years in power. He has presided over nearly a decade war that has killed thousands of people and forded millions to leave the country.

Assad's opponents and Western powers denounced the vote as a farce. The United States says the goal is to hold Assad to account for the misery he has brought for Syrian people.

More than 1,600 candidates, many prominent businessmen, competed on Sunday for the 250 parliamentary seats. All candidates were pre-approved by the government.