Clashes continued today in several parts of Syria, but they didn’t stop the referendum announced earlier this month from going ahead. The referendum concerns the question of a new Syrian constitution, one which promises some key reforms but which opponents also say could allow Bashar Assad to remain president for another 16 years.
US and other Western leaders were quick to condemn the referendum, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the vote was “phony” and that the true heroes of Syria would be the ones who refused to take part.
Despite this and the number of rebels calling for a boycott, major crowds were seen in Damascus among supporters of the new constitution, and there does seem to be some interest, though it remains to be seen how strong the turnout will actually be.
Though Clinton loudly condemned the idea of reform, she once again downplayed the prospect of the US arming the rebels they support, saying the US are concerned the weapons could inadvertently lead to support for al-Qaeda or Hamas, who are both also backing the rebels.