File - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) watching on as his wife Asma casts her vote at a polling station in Maliki, a residential area in the centre of the capital Damascus, in the country's presidential elections. AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA
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President Bashar Assad on his inauguration Wednesday is expected to play the role of "victor" trying to win over war-weary Syrians and those fearful of jihadist advances.Analysts say Assad, who was swept back to power in a June 3 election slammed as a "farce" by the opposition, will also try to convince the West his regime is a bulwark against the extremist ISIS which is sowing terror in Syria and Iraq.Three years on, according to Bassam Abu Abdallah, an expert close to the regime in Damascus, the question of Assad's ouster is "no longer on the cards".Shaikh, meanwhile, told AFP that Assad will use his inauguration for a new seven-year term to try to win over those who neither support his regime nor back the rebels.Karim Bitar, director of the Paris-based International and Strategic Relations Institute, said Assad will capitalize on fears of the jihadists while pursuing his own offensive against the rebels.
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