Syrian Expatriates Balloting Midweek, Lebanese Stuck in Traffic

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
  • W460
  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Syrian expats streamed to their embassy in Yarze on Wednesday to vote in a controversial presidential election, contrary to Lebanese elections held usually on weekends, which triggered suffocating traffic congestion, jamming work bound Lebanese citizens in their cars.

By midday, all the entrances to Beirut were blocked, causing long tailbacks, as thousands of Syrians descended on the embassy, mostly by foot.

Hazmieh Municipality chief Jean Asmar told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) that the traffic congestion on Hazmieh highway began long before 7 a.m. and that the traffic block reached al-Tahweeta main road. He called on the Lebanese army for a solution.

Balloting began at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and was scheduled to carry on till seven in the evening. However Syrian ambassador in Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali told the state-run National News Agency that “the balloting will be prolonged till 12 midnight due to the huge turnout for the vote, and that one more day could be scheduled for balloting.”

“The Syrian embassy will prepare the list of turnouts to be submitted to the Supreme Election Commission authorized to announce the results,” added the ambassador.

Ali considered that "these elections are a response to those who had wagered on the fall of Syria. It proves that the Syrian people are attached to their land, their country and their sovereignty."

Later in the day, the Syrian Foreign Ministry officially announced that the elections will actually be prolonged one more day as 40,000 citizens in Lebanon, which hosts more than a million refugees fleeing the violence, are on the electoral register.

The Syrian embassy in Beirut issued a statement on May 24 and called on “the Syrian citizens who recorded their names at the embassy to practice their constitutional right and take part in the presidential elections by heading to the embassy in Yarze area on May 28 from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. They should carry their passports or identity cards together with the proof that they have legally left the Syrian territory.”

The statement added: “All Syrians who were unable to record their names at the embassy should head on June 3 to one of the electoral centers on the border crossings.”

The Lebanese army deployed heavily in Yarze area and set checkpoints for security purposes as thousands of Syrians, filling the streets around their embassy, turned out to vote in Syria's controversial presidential poll being staged as civil war rages in the country.

For the early vote by expats, the Yarze district of east Beirut was festooned with Syrian flags and portraits of President Bashar Assad, who is expected to cruise to victory in the June 3 election.

The yellow flags of Hizbullah, a staunch Assad ally in the three-year conflict with rebels, were also prominent.

Of the estimated three million Syrians living abroad, including both refugees and peacetime residents, only around 200,000 were entitled to vote on Wednesday, in 39 embassies abroad, a foreign ministry source said in Damascus.

President Bashar Assad is to face two challengers in Syria's June 3 presidential election, which he is assured of winning reports say, including Maher Abdel Hafiz Hajjar and Hassan Abdallah al-Nouri.

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.



Comments 49
Missing patriot10 28 May 2014, 09:53

What a joke..

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 13:11

And yet hundreds of thousands of Syrians went to vote, just in Lebanon alone. Who are you to decide for them? This is a Syrian matter, and only Syrians will decide of their fate, not the US, not Turkey, not Qatar, not Saudis, and certainly not you.

You guys have been selling the propaganda that Syrians were all anti-regime, then how come so many of them went to vote in an election organized by the regime? Rebels are boycotting and trying to prevent it in Syria, the mere turnout is a huge slap in their face and a final nail in the coffin of their lies.

Default-user-icon Liebanon (Guest) 28 May 2014, 13:43

"only Syrians will decide of their fate, not the US, not Turkey, not Qatar, not Saudis, and certainly not you."

Is Hizbullah exempt of this policy?

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 14:02

someone seems sore :)

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan 28 May 2014, 22:07

Of the estimated three million Syrians living abroad, including both refugees and peacetime residents, only around 200,000 were entitled to vote on Wednesday, in 39 embassies abroad, a foreign ministry source said in Damascus

So if 200,000 living abroad can vote. And 39 embassies. How did you calculate "hundreds of thousands"???
It's 10-20,000 at best.

Thumb popeye 28 May 2014, 10:45

situations change, flamethrower-- . contexts change, but you have arrested development. i dont blame you. Here you go:

I await the day when I will read ONE meaningful post, ONE counter argument, ONE credible or mature info from you, flamethrower-- , but alas!

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 10:46

don't talk about hypocrisy as you beat everyone.... you are the champion at it and raised it as a way of living, hypocrit idiot....

Thumb Chupachups 28 May 2014, 10:49


Thumb Chupachups 28 May 2014, 10:52


Thumb Chupachups 28 May 2014, 10:53

I await the day when I will read ONE meaningful post, ONE counter argument, ONE credible or mature info from you, flamethrower-- , but alas!

Missing lebcan 28 May 2014, 11:09

Maybe things make sense now. ASSad told his supporters to leave Syria so he can barrel bomb, carpet bomb, chemical bomb with total indiscrimination.
It's why so many of them are voting for ASSad in Lebanon. I say we kick them out to face the music of war like the poor good people of Syria are... Maybe ASSad will stop barrel bombing knowing his supporters have come back .... Naaaa he's a ruthless evil slime.

Default-user-icon Marc Y (Guest) 28 May 2014, 11:52

are we in Lebanon or Syria or Palestine? can't tell any more. WHAT A JOKE. Our "Friends" the refugees are kindly invited to go back to their countries at the earliest. They overstayed their welcome!!!!

Missing abdallah 29 May 2014, 02:00

And when were you ever able to tell ya Marc? Lebanon was part of syria less than 100 years ago.

Default-user-icon Legion (Guest) 28 May 2014, 11:54

I was just in Hazmieh, these people think they own the place!!!!

Thumb EagleDawn 28 May 2014, 12:04

Any Syrian voting for Assad is not to be considered a refugee. They all could return to areas controlled by Assad and live in heaven.

Thumb EagleDawn 28 May 2014, 12:07

Spare us the hypocrisy flametrower! When Aoun attacked they Syrians and now he supports them, you say "contexts" change. When Aoun attacked HA and now he is their ally, you say "contexts" change. But you continue to accuse some M14 figures of allegedly working with the Syrians during the years of hegemony and in their cases your "contexts" change logic never applies. Shameless, logic-less person..

Thumb FlameCatcher 28 May 2014, 12:11

I've seen them ! I looks like a Zombie apocalypse ! huge crowds migrating up and down the highway.

This is yet another violation of our sovereignty with the Syrian regime responsible for blocking our roads and handicapping our country with no coordination whatsoever with security forces. They should have opened voting centers across the country instead.

And just seeing the number of people there is crazy and is a threatening indication of what might happen in the country should anything go wrong. These crowds are simply uncontrollable and can basically take control of the country overnight !

Thumb ex-fpm 28 May 2014, 12:34

I seriously don't get it. If they love Assad so much what are they doing in Lebanon?!! Go back to Syria, you are NOT refugees!

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 13:13

as soon as the takfiri scum sent by your friends in saudi and mustaqbal are eradicated, they will be able to go home. you can't contribute in burning one's home, and then blame them for setting a tent in your front yard.

Thumb ex-fpm 28 May 2014, 13:40

Is that your role on this forum? btw, did you finish voting at the syrian embassy today?

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 14:07

what is your role?

Default-user-icon karim (Guest) 28 May 2014, 13:03

Picture of typical FSA-Al Qaeda jihadist terrorists, they are proudly campaining to relect the guy that freed them from jail.

Missing karim. 29 May 2014, 06:03

Go back to Afghanistan, Al Qaeda sympathizer. Do you think nobody noticed that you're a guest, you terrorist?

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 13:12

see? you guys hate syrians, the talk about supporting their rights, freedom or whatever was never more than a pretext to destroy their county.

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 14:07

i just posted substance, you just posted troll material.

Thumb liberty 29 May 2014, 05:42

The lebanese (iranian) shias went down on the streets waving Syrian flags and hailing Assad as their president. What about the Lebanese flags?

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 13:14

LOOOL yea right

Default-user-icon finbilita (Guest) 28 May 2014, 14:59

LOL even mowaten thinks the Syrian election is laughable.

Thumb .mowaten. 28 May 2014, 16:58

that was an answer to anonyme's who was trying to find some esoteric justification to the syrian election's turnout.

Thumb -phoenix1 28 May 2014, 13:27

This time the Syrians have caused traffic jams, next time they will show us Lebanese the way to the port and the airport. As they say in French, "Qui va a la chasse perd sa place".

Thumb Mystic 28 May 2014, 14:14

This is the true face of the Syrian Refugees, despite the oppositions claims. These refugees are not fleeing the Government, but the foreign backed Salafis. Let the democracy take place, USA has a way to only accept democracy when it is in their interests.

Default-user-icon ghassan (Guest) 28 May 2014, 14:40

Funny that no one is cheering for the other two candidates in the so called Syrian presidential elections.

Thumb Mystic 28 May 2014, 14:52

Ghassan, if the Syrian people chooses one of the other Candidates, then it has to be accepted aswell. It is no problem, that's what democracy is, you accept who gets the majority votes.

Default-user-icon september pumsely (Guest) 28 May 2014, 15:01

Time for them to go back to liberated Syria then.

Thumb Mystic 28 May 2014, 19:58

Candle, i've talked to lots of Syrian refugees. We have more than a million of them here you know. Most of them told me, all they wanted was to go back to the lives they used to have, before this conflict.

Thumb FlameCatcher 28 May 2014, 20:10

@Mystic, no one is enjoying this war. But you're asking them the wrong question. They simply don't want to go back to Bashar or any alternative extremist movement.

Talking to a few refugees which happen to be on Bashar's side will not show you anything. Go to camps where you will find the 90% who will not vote today. Who are not even allowed to vote because they registered with the UN. THose are the masses. The real syrian people. Not Bashar's shabiha gang you are familiar with.

Default-user-icon ghassan (Guest) 28 May 2014, 15:07

Whom are you kidding here?
Do you really believe in Syrian democracy?
If anyone among the crowd dares to cheer for the other candicates, he will be beaten senseless. This is what the real Syrian Democray is. If you think otherwise, you are fooling nobody but yourself.

Thumb beiruti 28 May 2014, 15:24

I think it ironic that Syrian Refugees in Lebanon have the opportunity to vote in their sham elections for the Syrian president, while in Lebanon itself, the people do not even have the right to vote and must leave the selection of the President in the hands of the sham Parliament.

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 16:30

here is the truth or rather the shameful truth All Syrians are voting simply because if they do not vote and upon crossing the borders they will be arrested as pro rebels simply for the fact that they abstained. this is democracy Assad's style you either vote for him or get busted for not voting

Thumb beiruti 28 May 2014, 17:31

Did I not refer to the Syrian election as a "sham" election? When you are forced to engage in a free election, it is not a free election. Nes pa?
But in Syria, there is the right of popular election which we do not have in Lebanon. There would not be the obstruction that we have in Lebanon if the people of Lebanon were free to vote for the Maronite President through an electoral college process. A majority of the 128 votes in Parliament still elect a Maronite President, but the determination of how the 128 vote is made by the People of Lebanon rather than by the King of Saudi Arabia, The Supreme Leader of Iran, The President of France, Russia or the United States, and surely not the despot in Damascus.

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 17:59

I fully agree with you it is a shame and actually scary that 128 corrupt leaders with foreign backing determine the Lebanese presidential election yet the Lebanese people are not involved

Missing jeff070 28 May 2014, 16:37

Good for the Syrians. At least they will have a president they have voted for on time, unlike us acting like animals (that goes for both sides). Ironic isn't it (we are animals, and they are civilized)?

Missing peace 28 May 2014, 17:45

the syrians in Lebanon were obliged to go to vote... if not they would face the consequences with the brave help of hezbis!
this election is a farce and M8ers take it as a "model" LOL how pityful they are in their desperate attempt to defend a butcher....

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 18:00

are you saying that the Syrian election is representative of its people? please think again

Missing karim. 28 May 2014, 19:36

Lebanon should also allow Saudi expats living in Lebanon to also vote for the Saudi presidential elections.

Missing coolmec 28 May 2014, 19:50

Saudi presidential election ha ha ha

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan 28 May 2014, 22:09

Just like march 8th and the Syrians demonstrating in support of Syria. Lol

Missing abou.omar 28 May 2014, 23:50

Yalla elect and go back home habibete if you are sure that Bashar wil bring you victory stability and prosperity what the hell are you still doing in Lebanon ? 7ello ba2a

Missing abou.omar 28 May 2014, 23:50

Karim you do know that saudi is a monarchy i hope