Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
The U.S. warned in March 2021 that it will not recognize the results, urging its allies to do the same as it hopes the elections "won´t legitimize the Assad regime." This, as Syrian democratic forces tried to move forward to end the conflict after Assad retook control of most of the country and began a recovery process by allowing millions of migrants to return home.
Syrians will go to the polls on May 26 to decide their next president, amid an ongoing civil war that has kept the country in turmoil for over a decade, but which has strengthened the leadership of current president Bashar al-Assad despite bloody confrontations with rebels, foreign interference, and massive migration.
In the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring that swept across states in North Africa and the Middle East, opponents of President Bashar al-Assad started demonstrating fueled by the social unrest against longstanding governments in Tunisia, Lybia, and Egypt.
Syria shares borders with Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, and Lebanon and Israel to the southwest.
However, Syria's strategic position in the Middle East suddenly triggered a conflict that involved key players in the region and their Western allies on the one hand, and Russia and Iran, which have always supported the current government, on the other. It has set the stage for a diplomatic confrontation between two superpowers, Russia and the U.S. The U.S. used its war on the terrorist group ISIS as a pretext to support Syrian rebels.
According to several experts, the conflict in Syria has escalated from civil war to a proxy war, with military interference from the U.S., which trains and equips Syrian rebels; Turkey, which offers its military bases to the U.S. while sending troops into Northern Syria; Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have funded Syrian rebels, and the U.K. and France, which have supported U.S. airstrikes.
On the other hand, Russia has always been an ally of the Syrian government, and it has its only military base outside the former Soviet Union in Syria. Likewise, Iran has supported the Syrian government since the beginning of the conflict with funding, weaponry, and military advisers.
According to the electoral law, candidates must have lived in Syria continuously for the past decade and be backed by at least 35 members of parliament. These requirements have considerably narrowed eligible candidates to three, including the current president Bashar al-Assad, as the other two candidates do not represent a unified opposition front. The current president enjoys the support of the parliament and the loyalty of thousands of followers. Hence, experts consider that he is likely to win.
However, the U.S. warned in March 2021 that it would not recognize the results, urging its allies to do the same as it hopes the elections "won't legitimize the Assad regime." This, as Syrian democratic forces tried to move forward to end the conflict with Assad retaking control of most of the country and beginning a recovery process by allowing millions of migrants to return home.
The U.S. announcement indicates that its ally Israel won't recognize the results either, especially since most of the Israel-occupied area of the Golan Heights in Syria is loyal to Assad.
On March 23, Turkey followed the same script refusing to acknowledge the elections and pledge instead that it will "continue to support the efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
On the other hand, throughout the civil war, Syria and Lebanon have kept diplomatic relations and the Hezbollah and Amal affiliated politicians and ministers generally stated their support of Assad's government, noticing that more political instability in Syria will result in political turmoil in both Lebanon and Iraq as they are significant receptors of Syrian asylum seekers. At least one million Syrian refugees live in Lebanon and over 241,000 in Iraq.
Although some experts consider that May 26 elections won't significantly alter the ongoing but much diminished civil war, others point out that these polls can be the starting point for the Syrian government to win more support within the international community and return to the Arab League, as former enemies such as Saudi Arabi are actively seeking a rapprochement with Damascus amid a thaw in relations with Syria's longstanding ally Iran.
#FromTheSouth News Bits | A missile launched from #Syria was fired into southern Israel early Thursday, setting off air raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor, the Israeli military said. pic.twitter.com/cegcSOxL4V