Syria’s President Assad sworn in for fourth term with 95% of vote
Inauguration follows election dismissed by US, UK and other countries as ‘neither free nor fair’
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad
President Bashar al-Assad swears the presidential oath for a fourth term in Damascus, Syria on Saturday. Photograph: Sana/Reuters
Sat 17 Jul 2021 13.52 EDT
President Bashar al-Assad took the oath of office for a fourth term in war-ravaged Syria on Saturday, after officially winning 95% of the vote in an election dismissed abroad.
It was the second presidential poll since the start of a decade-long civil war that has killed almost half a million people and battered the country’s infrastructure.
Shortly before the ceremony, rockets fired by pro-government forces killed six people including three children and a rescue worker in the country’s last major rebel bastion of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
An AFP correspondent in the village of Sarja saw men work hurriedly to remove bodies from the rubble of a collapsed home, before carrying one away in a red blanket.
Assad, 55, was sworn in on Syria’s constitution and the Koran in the presence of more than 600 guests, including ministers, businessmen, academics and journalists, organisers said.