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2 dead, 317 injured in celebratory gunfire for Assad

Damascus, At least two people were killed and 317 others injured during celebratory gunfire 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 Assad’s supporters in several areas including the capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo, dpa news agency quoted the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.

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

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 and dismissed by the opposition as a sham.

Three contenders, including 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 US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy.

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, 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.

Assad, 55, has ruled Syria since 2000.

His father, Hafez al-Assad, governed Syria from 1971 to 2000.

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