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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
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Syrian troops and army defectors clash as elections underway

Municipal elections are underway across the country but turnout is expected to be low as anti-government opposition called for a boycott of the poll.

A man shows his inked finger after voting in Damascus today.
A man shows his inked finger after voting in Damascus today.
Image: Muzaffar Salman/AP/Press Association Images

SYRIAN ACTIVISTS SAY battles between troops and army defectors are spreading after a day of fierce clashes in the south.

The nine-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad has grown increasingly violent in recent months as defecting soldiers fight back against the army.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says new clashes were reported today in the northwestern region of Idlib.

It says fighting also continued for a second day in the southern province of Daraa.

BBC News reports that seven people are reported dead today. Yesterday, activists said that 18 people had been killed across the country.

According to the UN more than 4,000 people have died in the nine-month uprising, including 307 children.

Syria’s state media meanwhile has reported that voting started in scheduled municipal elections, but witnesses say turnout was low.

Around 43,000 candidates are competing for more than 17,000 seats in the local councils across Syria. While state TV reports that people are “flocking” to the polling stations, actual turnout appears far lower according to reporters on the ground.

Al Jazeera  reports that the opposition has called for a boycott of the poll because it does not consider the vote a legitimate concession by the regime as it coincides with the crackdown on anti-Assad activists.

More: Children among the dead as violence escalates in Syria >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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