The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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May 31, 2014

Naharnet - Refugees in Akkar: Those who Voted for Assad are Not Syrians, May 31, 2014

A number of Syrian refugees on Friday staged a sit-in in the Akkar town of Khirbet Daoud in rejection of the June 3 presidential elections in their war-torn country.

According to Lebanon's National News Agency, speakers at the sit-in stressed “the need to boycott these polls,” confirming that they will not head to “the ballot boxes that will be placed by the Syrian regime at legal border crossings with Lebanon on June 3.”

And as they called for “toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad and shunning the illegitimate vote,” the protesters noted that their sit-in is “in response to those who cast their votes at the Syrian embassy in Beirut” on May 28 and 29.

“Our sit-in is also against the violations that have been committed against us and in support of our mosques that were destroyed and our people who were displaced from their country, and so that we don't forget the blood of the martyrs,” the demonstrators added.

“Most of those who headed to the Syrian embassy to vote for Bashar Assad are not Syrians at all,” they said.

On Wednesday and Thursday, thousands of Syrians streamed to their embassy in Yarze near Beirut to vote in the presidential polls, in what Damascus' Lebanese and Syrian critics have described as a prearranged “show of force.”

The midweek, poorly organized vote triggered a suffocating traffic congestion in the area, stranding thousands of commuters in their cars amid an excruciating summer heat.

Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali said Monday that the presidential vote will be the resounding answer to all those who doubt that his government will prevail in its current conflict.

Ali said he expects a huge turnout, noting that the world criticizes and opposes the Syrian election because it fears the results.

"The Syrian people will say their word in these elections, and their word is the one that counts. Not Obama's word, Cameron's or Hollande's," Ali said, referring to the American, British and French leaders who have described Syria's insistence to hold the vote amid a raging civil war as a mockery.

Assad is all but guaranteed a victory as opposition groups are boycotting the vote and balloting will only be held in government-controlled areas of the fragmented country, where rebels hold vast territory and where entire blocks have been destroyed and emptied of their original inhabitants because of the fighting.

More than 160,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced from their homes since the uprising against Assad erupted in March 2011, then morphed into a civil war.

Lebanon is hosting more than a million refugees. Hundreds of thousands of others are scattered across Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and beyond.

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