May 28 - Syrian expatriates living in Lebanon, Jordan cast their votes in Syria's presidential elections. Nathan Frandino reports.
Syrians in Lebanon are starting to vote. This polling site looks more like a rock show and President Bashar al-Assad is the headliner. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN MAN FROM ALEPPO, HAROUT, SAYING: "He is the president. Whatever they do, they cannot defeat him because he is God, Syria and Bashar." Worldwide voting began Wednesday in an election that looks certain to give Assad a third seven-year term as president. Now Syrians are pouring into embassies abroad ahead of the June 3 vote that opponents have dismissed as a farce. The country is embroiled in its fourth year of fighting. In Jordan, another pro-Assad group gathered for the vote. At least 600,000 registered Syrian refugees and at least 1.3 milllion Syrian altogether live in the country. One Syrian voter hopes the election will improve the situation. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN LIVING IN JORDAN, NUHA DERAZINI, SAYING: "As long as the elections are taking place under Dr. Bashar Hafez Al Assad, then the situation after the elections will improve. We want to at least return to the way things were before." Not everyone is so optimistic. One group of Syrians was protesting opposite the embassy in Amman. One protester said the election would change nothing. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN LIVING IN JORDAN, UM MUTAZ, SAYING: "This is a farce. These elections are a farce. What will change? Nothing will change. He thinks he is president now, and he will continue to believe that he is president, but eventually he will be under the mercy of every person who has lost a child or a brother. If he thinks these people are here voting for him out of love, then he is stupid." The conflict in Syria has killed at least 160,000 people.