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2 die, 317 injured celebrating al-Assad’s poll victory

At least two persons were killed and 317 others injured by gunfire at celebrations in Syria marking President Bashar al-Assad’s re-election to a fourth term, a war monitor reported on Saturday.

The casualties resulted from celebratory shots fired randomly by al-Assad’s loyalists in several areas including the capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The two who died were a young man and a child in Aleppo, the Britain-based observatory said.

Al-Assad was re-elected for a fourth seven-year term with 95.1 per cent of the ballots in the election in government held areas.

The poll victory was dismissed by the opposition as a sham.

Three contenders, including al-Assad, ran in Wednesday’s polls, Syria’s second presidential election since the country’s civil war started in 2011.

The election was condemned as fraudulent by Syria’s opposition as well as countries such as the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

Al-Assad won 88.7 per cent of votes in the 2014 election, which was Syria’s first with multiple candidates.

With the help of Iran and Russia, al-Assad has retaken control of more than 60 per cent of the country.

The rebels still hold some areas in north and north-western Syria, while Kurds rule areas in the north-east.

Al-Assad, 55, has ruled Syria since 2000, his father, Hafez, governed Syria from 1971 to 2000.

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