Syria's Assad reelected by landslide

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won reelection for a fourth term in office by a landslide.

The presidential election was held on Wednesday in government-controlled areas of the country, where civil war still continues. Assad has served as president for the past 21 years.

Syria's state-run media said Assad won 95.1 percent of the votes, eclipsing two other candidates. He will be in office for seven more years.

Observers say the victory will allow the president to claim the legitimacy of his rule despite a decade-old conflict with anti-government forces.

Meanwhile, opposition forces calling on Assad to step down held protests in northwestern Idlib province on Wednesday. Idlib remains as the last stronghold held by the anti-government forces.

Observers say Assad's election victory could make a settlement of the ongoing conflict more difficult. A UN-mediated process of drawing up Syria's new constitution, involving both the government and anti-government camps, has stalled.