Municipal elections go ahead today
Around 14.5 million Syrian voters will be entitled to vote today in local elections which are being heralded by the al-Assad regime as a sign of the new democracy in the country.
Voters will be choosing from 42,889 candidates for 17,588 seats in 1,337 local authorities. There are 154 cities, 502 towns and 681 municipalities coming up for full election, with 9849 polling stations spread across the 14 provinces.
Meanwhile fighting has intensified in a number of regions, with the Free Syrian Army becoming more emboldened and, in some instances, confronting troops loyal to the government in direct battles. Around 4,000 people are believed to have died since the troubles started nine months ago.
The government finds itself in a more entrenched position since the Arab League decided to impose trade sanctions against Syria last week, along with many western countries including their largest trade partner, Turkey.