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Opposition says Assad election illegitimate; continues revolt

Syria's exiled opposition vowed on Thursday to continue its uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, saying his election to a new seven-year term was "illegitimate".

BEIRUT: Syria's exiled opposition vowed on Thursday to continue its uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, saying his election to a new seven-year term was "illegitimate".

"The Syrian National Coalition reaffirms that this election is illegitimate and does not represent the Syrian people," it said in response to Assad's landslide victory in a Tuesday election held only in government-controlled areas.

"The people are continuing in their revolution until its goals of freedom, justice and democracy are reached."

Assad won a new seven-year term with 88.7 per cent of a vote held in regime-held areas of Syria this week.

It has been slammed as a "disgrace" and a "great big zero" by Washington, which has repeatedly called for Assad's ouster.

In a statement posted on its website, the National Coalition said the vote "emphasises the need for more aid for the opposition, in order to redress the imbalance of forces on the ground, and to force the regime to abide by international agreements on a peaceful solution in Syria."

With rebels seeking Assad's ouster massively outgunned by Syria's army, which is backed by Russia, Iran and Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah, the opposition frequently calls on states that back the revolt to better arm the rebellion.

The coalition said the Syrian voting results were "the last episode in a farcical play, as the criminal Bashar was announced the winner in an election boycotted by most Syrians inside the country, while students and civil servants were forced to participate."

The group also said the vote "excluded nine million displaced inside Syria and in neighbouring countries".

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