Jul 20, 2020 - World

Syria elections held amid pandemic and new U.S. sanctions

 A Syrian woman casts her ballot at a polling station in the Nubl neighbourhood of Aleppo on July 19
A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in the Nubl neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Sunday. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Polls closed in Syria's elections Sunday night, which saw voting take place in former rebel strongholds for the first time since the civil war that displaced millions began in 2011, per DW.

The big picture: The elections were delayed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. They took place amid an economic crisis and as new U.S. sanctions took effect. With no opposition involvement, the polls were denounced as a "farce," Reuters notes. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's forces control about 70% of the country, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported a bomb exploded in the rebel-held north on election night, wounding 10 people.

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