Assad Supporters Cast Vote in Blood

While rebel-held areas boycotted the election in Syria, pro-Assad voters pricked their fingers to show allegiance.
11:40 | 06/03/14

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Transcript for Assad Supporters Cast Vote in Blood
-- -- And election in name only serious president of -- is issue and refugees from the three year civil war with the symbolic vote. Dumping their shoes and a trash can -- ballot box right now the spot Syria hello everyone I'm Michelle -- It's been three years since the civil war began. And as a side eyes -- crushing victory in today's presidential election for another seven year term. His most ardent supporters are marking their ballots in blood in a country that has seen 160000. Deaths in the bloody civil war. The pro -- voters -- their fingers with pins given to them by the government as a sign of their allegiance and patriotism. In the rebel held province of it -- they are boycotting the election. BBC correspondent Paul Wood -- cameraman Fred Scott have been traveling throughout that region asking the opposition about the election. And the civil war now three years and counting. What kind of election is possible. In this blasted landscape. Know anyone who -- Has fled from here. And way we do you find people. They want nothing to do -- president sense -- And other things. If -- elections he says contemptuously. The elections of a -- him. It means nothing to us department win even if they were invented for women. -- and -- this on the facility -- about the level. There would be a single ballot box in any of the liberated areas -- another -- it is none of it. People remained defiant. These -- we can't say their loss hasn't broken their spirits. I'll sacrifice myself and my children from god she says. I didn't. Selection is a mom Kris has her friend. My husband and his three Brothers didn't want to themselves for people to care and -- Supachai -- not. Some have been in this campaign -- -- the most since the uprising began. That was three years ago. His -- to disbelief that president Assad has lasted about clone. We could find no one prepared to see him stay in exchange for -- In Italy and the alternative to president -- is Hassan -- -- He leads the most powerful armed repair the Islamic front. -- is a religious war but they say Syria's minorities Christians Shiites and calories. Have nothing to fear from the Islamic state that fighting to establish. Will be they have -- enough America -- the west doesn't understand -- he says. It's not justice -- -- punishments shall find correctly Sharia encompasses liberty and justice movement UN force -- -- people. We hope they were really meet him on -- But other times and another possible opposition controlled Syria we have come across tremendous -- -- they haven't encountered -- on this trip. The men of the Islamic front want to get rid of president aside whatever the cost and however long it takes. I have many supporters have. So whether the future in Syria belongs to these men. Want to president Assad will be decided not to the polls but on the battlefield that Paul Wood BBC news Italy. We are joined now by ABC's -- -- acquired from our bureau in Beirut in neighboring Lebanon. Alex Bashar Assad expected to win -- although the rebel held areas oppose his rule. How strong and how legitimate is his support. Good morning Michelle well if it's really impossible to say whether he has the support of the majority country of course there's no real legitimate. -- but if you look at this conflict in sectarian terms and of course that's not a great way of looking at it but. This conflict of the courses for years has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones. The majority country. Are Sunni Muslims and the Assad -- believe there are -- lights which is an offshoot of of Shiite Islam. And the -- regime has been seen as the protectors of the minorities. So. The vast majority of the minorities. It would -- -- who would be voting for president -- today added as would the Al Weis. And a growing number of the Sunni Muslims. And you have to remember that the vast majority over 90% of the -- forces. Are made up of Sunni Muslims are -- growing number of sunny Muslims whether they're in the government whether their middle class or whether they're simply people who were extra tired of this conflict. -- are coming over CSI outside so you are CE do you see a case strong level of support for a side. There really isn't anything to backed -- the notion that this you know he hears. It. -- that there's zero support for him for example there is a strong level of support for him. It's impossible -- ascertain. Exactly how much but we are gonna see a huge number an overwhelming number of people who are coming out today. Voting preside. It did their big question really is just how overwhelming his victory will be at this point. And we see images of people voting in all throughout that region there. Isn't the first time that there are actually other candidates on the ballot and who are the other candidates. Well this is the third time that he's runs for a seven year term and and this is the first time that we have seen other candidates. On the ballots there are two of them in fact be the ballot is set out very simply -- the three candidates there are three pictures. The other -- you. Candidates are Sunni lawmakers not terribly well known I'm not expected -- to take a large chunk of the vote exact. One of them earlier today. -- full throated endorsement for president does not. Saying that he's the best person you continue to military operation against the rebels intent to stabilize Syria so even son's rival's. Want him to win. As we heard rebel areas are boycotting the vote along with their supporters. Will the actual numbers be real or could these be inflated like we -- in Egypt. Well Egypt that the government actually admitted to extremely low turnout and that's really do need -- big questions for this Syrian vote. As I just mentioned we're -- C an overwhelming number. People coming outs -- votes or. President aside and and in fact weeks facts. -- invented to turn out numbers -- be quite high as well now it'll be impossible to say whether that's legitimate and so we we expect that the government will say. An overwhelming -- a number of Syrians turned out to vote today giving them a mandate to continue cracking down. On these rebel held areas -- with really no. A legitimate observer mission taking part monitoring this election -- is really going to be impossible to say. Whether that turn out number. That the date that they will eventually ideas is actually certified -- or legitimate. And the civil war of course began three years ago more than 160000. People killed more than 2.5. Million refugees. Give me an idea this country still -- Warren even a facade as a sure to win where does the country go. Well if he's a sure win he's gonna take it as as the voters the Syrians telling him to continue cracking down. On the rebels on the opposition fighters this is a conflict that isn't going anywhere any time soon. We understand it did you know that the momentum. Four -- is growing he's been able to take back. Some important strategic areas like the city of Homs. Liked an area along the border wins with Lebanon. I'm so even if he does have the momentum even -- he is able to solidify the areas of control that he has now. He's not to build them declare victory in terms of controlling the entire country anytime -- this is -- conflict that's likely to drag on for years. And what about how the US and the rest of the world will view these elections today. Is there any indication that the US might increase military aid to the rebels. Well you certainly not in terms of the giving giving military legal aid that's -- shift the landscape dramatically. For quite some time now the US has been training rebel fighters in neighboring Jordan. They've been giving non -- -- and helping facilitate. The slow loves us. Maine -- smaller weapons. There are written recently antitank missiles called toes. There have been that are American made -- going to rebels in northern Syria. Unclear whether they're coming directly. From America. Itself but it but it certainly would -- understanding that the that the US has given tacit. Supports for. 400 -- weapons the rebels but there's no indication yet from Washington that they are going to. Really raise the level of military of lethal support to the rebels in a way that would change the landscape on the ground that would. Be able to give that the rebels. A victory a military victory over aside. And what can you tell us about the thousands of Syrian rebel fighters that are actually from western countries who have flown back to Syria. And just last week an American suicide bomber detonated his truck killing soldiers from the Asad regime. Well this is really -- huge fear now for the US and for western countries primarily Europe there are believed to be around 121000 foreign fighters. Now fighting. Inside Syria the vast majority of them. To come from other Arab countries in the Middle East and in the North Africa. More than a thousand of them come from -- said the Europeans are extremely scared to many of these fighters. -- it goes to Syria. I get trained by groups like al-Qaeda fighters who are going there are joining -- more extremist groups other more hardline Islamist groups like the one that you just featured. In that BBC peace there is a smaller number of Americans believed to be there around seven. But the Americans and Europeans extremely afraid that these European -- these fighters will go to Syria get trained bring those skills back home. Just last week we saw. An attack. On a Jewish museum in Brussels carried out by a Frenchman -- we note of recently just spent time in Syria. This young American men who grew up in Florida Wednesday and exuded no signs and extremism no signs of radicalization. Who often went to Syria. And blew himself up so. The Europeans the Americans are extremely afraid -- these. These fighter that these these Muslims are gonna go to Syria join these extremist groups. And then if they don't die in Syria come back home. And perhaps -- wage Jihad on their home territory. ABC's Alex Mark -- from Beirut. From our bureau in Beirut thank you for joining us. You can of course keep up with the story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- -- starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. You've been watching an international hot spot I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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