Referendum in Syria as violence continues
The ballot boxes in Syria opened Sunday for a referendum on a new constitution. More than 14 million Syrians over 18 years old can vote. According to the Syrian Ministry of Interior, 14,000 polling stations were opened.
The opposition, who for months demands the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is boycotting the vote.
The new constitution limits the mandate of the President to two terms of seven years. It also omits the supremacy clause of the ruling Ba'ath Party. The current constitution was adopted by Parliament on January 31, 1973. Article 8 provides that the Ba'ath Party (in power since 1963) is "the leader of the state and society."
Meanwhile, the violence in Syria on Saturday claimed the lives of 94 people, including 68 civilians. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 24 civilians were killed in Homs. In addition, 23 members of the regime forces were slain in the country. Seven civilians in the region of Aleppo were also killed, as well as eight in Hama,10 in the region Idlib and 11 near the southern town of Deraa.
Reports claim there is still no agreement on the evacuation of wounded from Homs. Negotiations between the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Syrian authorities and the opposition about the evacuation of wounded from Baba Amr in Homs are stalled. A spokesperson from the Red Cross indicated the negotiations produced "no concrete results."
The Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent "will continue to negotiate with the authorities and the opposition to try to come to Baba Amr to evacuate the wounded," said spokesperson Saleh Dabbakeh. On Friday, the Red Cross and Red Crescent succeeded for the first time to evacuate seven wounded and 20 sick women and children from Baba Amr. This district in Homs has been bombarded for the past three weeks.