Syria announces presidential election as civil war rages on

Story highlights

  • The election will take place on June 3, Syrian parliament speaker says
  • It's unclear whether the election will yield any major change in the country
  • More than 100,000 people, including many civilians, have been killed in the civil war
  • Opposition activists report barrel bombs falling across Syria on Monday

As more reports of bloodshed and chaos emerged from Syria on Monday, the government announced it will hold presidential elections on June 3.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham said the constitutional court will start accepting presidential nominations Tuesday.

But it's unclear whether the elections will yield any major change in Syria, which has been wracked by violence over the past three years.

Well over 100,000 people, including many civilians, have been killed in the Syrian civil war, which pits government forces against rebels trying to end the Assad family's four-decade rule.

But new elections may not necessarily mean regime change. After President Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father in 2000, he won a second term unopposed in 2007.

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As the government announced the election date, opposition activists reported more barrel bombs raining down on neighborhoods across Syria.

The explosives, which usually involve barrels stuffed with nails and other objects to maximize damage, fell in Daraa and Idlib provinces Monday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. By midday Monday, at least nine people had been killed across the country, the LCC said.

The political uprising against al-Assad's regime began in Daraa province in 2011.

The Syrian regime has consistently said it is battling armed terrorist groups. On Monday, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said demonstrators in Khan Arnabeh took to the streets to express support for the army "in confronting terrorism."

Over the past year, foreign fighters have joined both sides of the civil war.

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