June 3 - Many Syrian refugees in Lebanon cross the border back to Syria to cast their vote in presidential elections, while others denounce the poll as a farce. Nathan Frandino reports.
Syrians in Lebanon are voting in an election expected to give President Bashar al-Assad a third seven-year term. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GHADA MAKKI, SYRIAN WOMAN FROM DAMASCUS, SAYING: "I am coming to elect a president for the Syrian Arab Republic. I came and decided on this for myself and my nation. It is a national duty to vote so we can overcome this period of crisis happening in Syria. You know, it is an international war against Syria." They're lining up at the Masnaa border point, bringing their identification papers and, for some, their unrelenting support of Assad. Lebanese authorities deployed heavy security at the checkpoint, in anticipation of violence that has plagued the neighboring country for more than three years. About a 90-minute drive away, refugees in Arsal are doubting the integrity of the vote. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE WHO WOULD NOT GIVE HIS NAME, SAYING: "The election in Syria is a complete farce. Bashar is the killer of children and the reason behind millions being homeless and 200,000 in prison. Starvation and destitution and bombings, I don't know on what basis this person is electing himself." Under Assad's reign, millions of Syrians have been displaced and some 160,000 people have been killed.