Middle East

Voting extended in Syria election by five hours

syria votingVoting has been extended in Syria’s presidential election by five hours because of high voter turnout.

Tuesday’s voting has been extended until midnight (2100 GMT), allowing more Syrians to take part in the election that would determine the country’s next leader.

The winner would be the crisis-hit nation’s next president for the coming seven years.

Over 15 million Syrians are eligible to vote in more than 9,000 stations across the government-controlled areas of the country.

Election officials in the capital Damascus have described the voter turnout as great.

Incumbent President Bashar al-Assad, MP Maher al-Hajjar, and businessman Hassan al-Nouri are competing for the top post. All the three candidates have already cast their ballots.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. Over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by the foreign-backed militants.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

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