In a major happening, Syrians living in government-controlled areas have voted for the first time in local elections since 2011 when anti-regime protests had taken shape of a full-blown conflict between government, rebels and the foreign sponsors.
Polling which set in early today will decide fate of 40000 candidates who are competing for 18478 seats in the administrative councils locally. The State media of Syria showed images of people casting their vote in Damascus, Latakia and Tartus. Images of voting from the city of Deir Az Zor in east which was retaken by the governmental forces in 2017.
Voting was however, only restricted to government-held areas and was not held in Kurdish-controlled areas in northeast and even in the last rebel stronghold of Idlib. The number of voters was quite less than that seen in earlier elections.
The elections have painted a positive picture of the country in the international landscape although the realities on ground suggest that the most of the candidates belong to one party. Apart from this, the regime also wants to increase its grip over the areas in which it has made recent gains like Eastern Ghouta, Deraa, Homs, Aleppo and lead to appointment of local council members.
The displaced Syrians and other refugees have no right to vote in local elections as per Syrian law. This is one of the reason behind low turnout.