DAMASCUS - Syrians began voting on Tuesday in an election expected to deliver an overwhelming victory to President Bashar Assad in the midst of a civil war that has fractured the country and killed more than 160,000 people.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) in parts of Syria under Assad's government control.

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Assad is running against two relatively unknown challengers who were approved by parliament to participate in the election, which the president's international opponents have dismissed as a sham.

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