Syrians on June 3 vote in a presidential poll that Bashar al-Assad is all but certain to win, and which the regime's critics have dismissed as a farce.
In theory, this will be Syria's first election in nearly 50 years when more than one name appears on the ballot paper. Until now, Assad and his father Hafez renewed their mandates in successive referendums.
Two virtually unknown opponents -- Maher al-Hajjad and Hassan al-Nuri -- are running against Assad.
But the vote excludes regime opponents from running, and will only be held in areas under army control.
It takes place three years into a civil war which has killed more than 160,000 people displaced millions more.
The vote will be supervised by observers from countries allied to the regime -- North Korea, Iran, and Russia.
The United States has called the vote "a parody of democracy."
Based on reporting by BBC and AFP