Syrian Prez Bashar Assad takes oath for fourth term after controversial re-election
Syrian Prez Bashar Assad takes oath for fourth term after controversial re-election

Syrian President Bashar Assad was sworn in on Saturday (July 17)  for a fourth seven-year term in the war-torn country. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the presidential palace and attended by clergymen, members of parliament, political figures and army officers. Assad’s new term starts with the country still devastated by 10 years of war and sliding deeper into a worsening economic crisis.

Bashar Assad, targeted by widening sanctions and isolated by the West, is supported by Iran and Russia, who sent in troops and assistance that have propped him up throughout the war.

Nearly half of Syria’s pre-war population is either displaced or living in neighbouring countries or Europe as refugees. The war has left nearly half a million killed, tens of thousands missing and devastated the infrastructure.

The U.N. estimates that more than 80% of Syrians live under the poverty line. The Syrian currency is in a free fall and basic services and resources have become scarce or are offered at exorbitant parallel market prices. Fighting has largely subsided, but parts of Syria remain out of government control and foreign troops and militias are deployed in different parts of the country.

European and U.S. governments blame Mr. Assad and his aides for most of the war’s atrocities. Assad calls his armed opposition terrorists while U.N.-led talks to end the conflict have lacked any progress.


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