Parliamentary Elections Underway in Civil War-Hit Syria; President Bashar Al-Asad Completes 20 Years In OfficeSyrian President Bashar Al Assad (Representative Image) (@Presidency_Sy/Twitter)

Voting was underway on Sunday (19 July) for Syria’s parliamentary elections, the third since the start of the civil war in 2011 and also as President Bashar al-Assad marks 20 years in power.

A total of 7,277 polling stations opened across the government-controlled areas on Sunday morning, reports Xinhua news agency.

Voters can choose between a total of 1,656 candidates for the 250-seat parliament.

Wearing masks, Assad and his wife cast their ballots at a polling centre in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

The elections, originally scheduled to be held in April, were postponed twice due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In the 2016 polls, the Baath Party and its allies took 200 of the 250 Parliament seats, while the remaining went to independent candidates.

The Syrian government now controls around 70 per cent of the country’s territory while ultra-radical rebels control the Idlib province and the US-backed Kurdish militia of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control areas in northeastern Syria.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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