By Alexander Dziadosz BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria announced a presidential election for June 3 on Monday, preparing the ground for Bashar al-Assad to defy widespread opposition and extend his grip on power, days after he said the civil war was turning in his favor. Western and Gulf Arab countries that back Assad's opponents have called plans for an election a "parody of democracy" and said it would wreck efforts to negotiate a peace settlement. United Nations-backed talks in Geneva collapsed in February with both sides far from agreement - not least over the question of whether Assad should go. Monzer Akbik of the Western-backed National Coalition opposition group, told Reuters the election was a sign Assad was unwilling to seek a political solution to the conflict.
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria announced Monday that presidential elections will be held June 3, setting the stage for President Bashar Assad to win a new, seven-year term in the midst of a civil war that has torn apart the country and makes it impossible for millions to vote. The opposition dismissed the election as a farce.