Syria minister forecasts Assad would be re-elected

Associated Press
In this Monday, Jan. 6, 2013 citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center, AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following a Syrian government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria. Syrian rebel groups battled one another Monday for control of a provincial capital, part of a vicious round of score settling targeting an al-Qaida affiliate that gained stature fighting President Bashar Assad but alienated many by imposing strict Islamic law. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's information minister says that ordinary citizens will urge President Bashar Assad to seek re-election next July, and that he would win the vote.

Omran al-Zoubi says the decision to run again for the nation's highest office however would be for the president himself to decide.

Zoubi's Tuesday comments at a Damascus press conference are the latest in a series of hints by Syrian officials that Assad may seek re-election.

Syria is embroiled in a civil war that began three years ago as an uprising against Assad's rule.

An international conference is expected to be held on Jan. 22 to try resolve the Syria conflict.

Zoubi said any decisions taken by officials at the conference would be put to a referendum in Syria.

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