Syrians began voting Tuesday in a farcical election almost certain to hand President Bashar al-Assad another seven-year term. Government forces provided heavy security at more than 9,000 polling stations in government-controlled areas. State employees said they had been told they had to vote or face interrogation. Opposition groups urged Syrians to boycott the "blood election," and rebels said anyone not staying home was a legitimate military target.
But in perhaps the most telling example of the election's illegitimacy, North Korea joined Zimbabwe, Russia, and Iran to monitor the voting. Per The New York Times:
While Mr. Assad’s international opponents have branded the election a farce, election observers were on hand Tuesday from North Korea — a country even less tolerant of dissent than Syria — as well as from Mr. Assad’s allies Iran and Russia, along with Brazil, Zimbabwe and others. [The New York Times] Harold Maass