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Syria calls presidential election for June 3

Syria said Monday it will hold a presidential election expected to return President Bashar al-Assad to office on June 3, despite a civil war that has killed tens of thousands. Underlining the ongoing violence in the country, mortar fire hit near the parliament building shortly before the election date was announced, killing two people. Syria's first presidential election -- after constitutional amendments did away with the old referendum system -- will be held amid violence that has killed 150,000 people since March 2011, according to one monitoring group.

Syria calls presidential elections for June 3

Syria said Monday it will hold presidential elections expected to return President Bashar al-Assad to office on June 3, despite a civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people. Underlining the ongoing violence in the country, mortar fire hit near the parliament building shortly before the election date was announced, killing two people. Syria's first presidential election -- after constitutional amendments did away with the old referendum system -- will be held amid violence that has killed 150,000 people since March 2011, according to one monitoring group.

Syria presidential vote on June 3: parliament speaker

Syria will hold presidential elections that are expected to return President Bashar al-Assad to office on June 3, the country's parliamentary speaker said on Monday. Syria's first presidential election -- after constitutional amendments did away with the old referendum system -- will be held amid a devastating civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people, with rebels holding large swathes of territory.

Syria presidential vote on June 3: parliament speaker

Syria will hold presidential elections that are expected to return President Bashar al-Assad to office on June 3, the country's parliamentary speaker said Monday. As lawmakers met to hear the election date announced, mortar fire hit near the parliament building, killing at least two people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The deaths underlined the fact that Syria's first presidential election -- after constitutional amendments did away with the old referendum system -- will be held amid a devastating civil war.

Air strikes kill dozens in Syria's Aleppo: monitor group

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Dozens of people have been killed in air strikes on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said on Monday, including at least 29 people in a single neighborhood. Also on Monday, state news agency SANA said two people were killed when mortars struck central Damascus.

Syria's Assad pays Easter visit to old Christian town

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad paid an Easter Sunday visit to a historic Christian town newly recaptured from jihadist-backed rebels, as opposition fighters counter-attacked his forces in a key battleground city. The surprise visit to Maalula, just north of Damascus, came as Pope Francis said in his Easter message that it was time for warring parties to "boldly negotiate" peace in Syria after three years of conflict estimated to have killed 150,000 people.

Syria's Assad pays Easter visit to old Chrisitian town

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad paid an Easter Sunday visit to a historic Christian town newly recaptured from Islamists, as rebels counter-attacked his forces in the key battleground city of Homs. The surprise visit to Maalula, just north of Damascus, came as Pope Francis said in his Easter message that it was time for warring parties to "boldly negotiate" peace in Syria after three years of conflict estimated to have killed 150,000 people.

Syria's Assad pays Easter visit to recaptured Christian town

By Firas Makdesi MAALOULA, Syria (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday visited an ancient Christian town recaptured from rebels last week, state media said, as he seeks to persuade minorities that the government is their best protection against hardline Islamists. Assad's Easter visit to Maaloula - a rare appearance outside central Damascus - also highlighted growing government confidence in recent gains against insurgents around the capital and along the Lebanese border.

France has 'information' Assad regime using chemical weapons

France has "information" but no firm proof that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is still using chemical weapons, President Francois Hollande said Sunday. "We have a few elements of information but I do not have the proof," Hollande said in a radio interview after he was asked about reports that Assad was currently using chemical weapons. "What I do know is what we have seen from this regime is the horrific methods it is capable of using and the rejection of any political transition," he told the Europe 1 radio station.

Syria's Assad visits recaptured Christian town: state TV

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Easter Sunday visited the ancient Christian town of Maalula, which his troops recently recaptured from rebels, state television said. "On the day of the resurrection of Christ, and from the heart of Maalula, President Assad hopes all Syrians have a happy Easter, and for the reestablishment of peace and security throughout Syria," the channel announced in a caption at the bottom of the screen, without showing images of the visit.
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