The Baath Brigades militia forced the owners of shops in the city of al-Tal in Damascus countryside to buy — at their own expense — pictures of regime head Bashar al-Assad and hang them on the shops’ facades, as part of the “election campaign.”
On Monday, May 17, a Sowt Al-Asima correspondent said that militiamen “informed the city’s shop owners of the necessity of implementing that order.”
The reporter quoted shopkeepers as saying that the Baath Brigades threatened to arrest whoever failed to buy and hang the pictures.
The militiamen allocated the printing shop (Kar Fan Photographer) where shopkeepers are assigned to print the photos within a maximum time frame of 48 hours.
Baath Brigades also commissioned the building owners in their security bloc to print pictures of Assad at their own expense and hang them on the facades of their buildings.
On Sunday, the regime forced the Relief Development Committee, working in al-Tal, to cover the expenses of Assad’s election campaign in the city.
Sowt Al-Asima reported that, in regime-controlled areas, the regime is forcing wealthy residents and charities to cover campaign expenses, including photographs, feasts, and election tents.
In other news, the Supreme Judicial Committee for Elections issued a decision to increase the number of polling stations in all Syrian governorates.
Heba Fattoum, a member of the Judicial Committee for Elections, said that the Committee’s presidency had circulated the decision to provide more polling stations to the provincial sub-committees. The decision’s purpose is to allow more voters to cast their ballots.
Fattoum added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates formed election committees in embassies outside Syria. The ministry also informed the Supreme Judicial Committee for Elections of the members of these committees, which are judicial subcommittees formed in Syria, according to a pro-government newspaper.
Fattoum pointed out that the regime’s Ministry of Interior is almost done preparing election centers in Syria and abroad. The centers will be equipped with all the necessary requirements including paper, invisible ink, and ballot boxes.
Al-Watan newspaper quoted a source in Rural Damascus governorate, stating that the council adopted 2,058 polling stations in the governorate, distributed among cities and towns of Rural Damascus. The capital Damascus has 2,200 polling stations in various neighborhoods. These stations were allocated before the decision to increase the number of centers.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.