Damascus: Bashar al-Assad has suggested that Syria could hold an early presidential election.
In an interview with a Russian news agency, the dictator said that an early election was possible “if the Syrian people wanted it”.
A peace plan proposed by the United Nations envisages a presidential election to choose Syria’s next leader. But the opposition and the Western powers are adamant that Assad should not stand as a candidate.
Simply opening the door to an early poll may do nothing to break the impasse.
Assad staged a presidential election in 2014 and claimed to have won with 88 per cent of the vote. This contest was widely dismissed as a sham. But the regime’s position had been that no further election was possible until the end of Assad’s seven-year term in 2021. The dictator’s latest words suggest a retreat from that stance.
Meanwhile, the Syrian air force killed 10 civilians while bombing the rebel-held town of Deir Al-Assafir in breach of the ceasefire.