Free Syrian Army fighters take up positions during clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the old city of Aleppo April 27, 2014.(REUTERS/Jalal Al-Mamo)
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Syrian President Bashar Assad declared Monday that he would seek re-election in June, defying calls from his opponents to step aside and allow a political solution to the country's devastating civil war.Opposition forces in the city, including the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, had switched off the supplies 10 days ago, in an attempt to halt regime barrel bomb attacks on rebel-held areas.Assad formally submitted his nomination to Syria's Constitutional Court to stand in an election that his Western and Arab foes have dismissed as a "parody" of democracy.State media said crowds gathered to celebrate the coming election and recent military gains by Assad's forces who, supported by foreign allies, have turned the tide of a war which 18 months ago challenged their control over Damascus.Syria's exiled opposition leaders, barred from standing by a constitutional clause requiring candidates to have lived in Syria continuously for at least 10 years, dismissed the vote as a charade.The National Coalition, Syria's main opposition umbrella group in exile, said Assad's determination to win another term in office showed he was not interested in a negotiated settlement to the conflict.
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