Syrians in govt areas vote in first local polls since 2011
Israeli missiles target Damascus
DAMASCUS, Sept 16: Syrians in government-controlled areas cast their ballots on Sunday in the first local elections there since 2011, when the country's ill-fated uprising erupted against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Seven years since the last vote, the conflict has killed more than 360,000 people, forced millions more to flee, and left the economy in tatters.
Now, Syrian troops are back in control of around two-thirds of the country after a string of victories, most recently around Damascus and in southern Syria.
Polling booths opened at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) across government-held parts of the country and will be open for 12 hours, with a potential five-hour extension depending on turnout, reported state news agency SANA.
It said more than 40,000 candidates would compete for 18,478 seats on local administrative councils.
In Damascus, election posters mostly featuring incumbents were plastered across public squares, including in the Old City.
Meanwhile, an Israeli missile attack targeted the Syrian capital's airport late Saturday, activating air defences which shot down a number of the projectiles, state news agency SANA reported. -AFP