Many Syrian refugees in Turkey, Iraq banned from voting in June presidential polls
Syria's electoral commission has banned all Syrians who fled the country "via unofficial crossings" from voting in the tentative June presidential elections, Agence France Presse reported Monday.
"Syrians who left Syria illegally do not have the right to vote in host countries," commission chief Hisham Shaar was quoted as saying by pro-regime newspaper Al Watan.
Most Syrian refugees who have entered Lebanon due to the civil war did so by official crossings, according to the UN, but those who fled to Turkey and Iraq did not go through government-sanctioned crossings.
"Electoral law authorises [only] Syrians who reside abroad legally to vote," Shaar added.
Syria's elections have come under extensive international criticism as the war continues to ravage the country. Syria's opposition has particularly labeled the vote as a "farce" and a "democratic parody." However, Damascus has insisted that it will hold polls June 3 anyways, despite the fact that many areas of the country remain inaccessible or under rebel control.
Many expect that Syria's president Bashar Al Assad, who announced his official bid Monday, will win the June poll.