Mortar Shell Hits Syrian Regime Rally

A number of people were killed when the mortar shell hit an election rally for President Bashar Assad Thursday night. State media report Assad was not at the rally in the southern city of Daraa.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Syria is also holding a presidential election. That election will be next month and it comes in the third year of a civil war. President Bashar al-Assad intends to be reelected. Today in the southern city of Daraa, a mortar shell landed on a tent being used by the president's campaign.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

An independent group based in the UK said 21 people were killed. Syria's state media blamed the attack on rebels.

MONTAGNE: Daraa is where the protest against President Assad first began. Assad wasn't there when his campaign was attacked. In fact, he hasn't been seen in public since he declared his candidacy for another term.

INSKEEP: His opposition, the rebels in particular, say the election is a farce and that they will not be taking part.

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