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It is presidential election time in Syria, despite the harsh attempts at disruption from its adversaries.
The date was set for May 26th, and candidates could submit their applications between April 19th and the 26th.
On the first day, two candidates – Abdullah Salloum Abdullah and Mohammad Firas Yasin Rajjouh submitted their applications.
President Bashar al-Assad hasn’t submitted his application yet.
Syrians living abroad will be “able to vote at embassies” on May 20, Parliament Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh said in a statement.
Those in the militant-controlled areas, such as Idlib will have no possibility to vote, as they are under the ire of the al-Qaeda-affiliated “moderate opposition”.
Taking into account the high level of support of Bashar al- Assad had in 2014, where he won with nearly 90% of vote; he would have chance to win, if he runs for re-election this year.
The other potential candidates must have lived in Syria continuously for at least 10 years to be able to run, which disqualifies many of the “moderate opposition” figures that left the country as soon as war broke out.
Meanwhile, Russia in assistance to the Syrian Arab Army continues to normalize the situation in the ISIS-infested central region.
On April 19th, the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out airstrikes on an ISIS base northeast of Palmyra and killed at least 200 terrorists.
This operation impeded an attack on the Syrian Arab Army’s forces in an attempt to spread chaos after the elections were announced.
The airstrikes came alongside an operation by the Syrian Arab Army’s 5th Corps with support of Russian Forces in Deir Ezzor and Homs.
This aims to contain ISIS in an even tighter space and secure a larger part of the central region, so that a partial normality can be restored leading up to the elections.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces carried out two operations in Deir Ezzor, arresting 6 ISIS terrorists with assistance from the US-led coalition.
In Ras al-Ain, in the Hasakah province, clashes between various armed groups broke out, and casualties were reported on both sides.
Infighting amongst the many Turkish-backed factions are commonplace in the regions occupied by Ankara.
The elections also come at a time when there is an alleged hope for an actual ceasefire, as the UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pederson said he sees a rare “window of opportunity” to end the fighting there, 10 years after the conflict began.
Not because fighting has subsided, but because the frontlines aren’t shifting, and are rather static at this time.