আপডেটঃ ১২:৫৭ অপরাহ্ণ | মে ২৪, ২০১৪
DHAKA: At least 20 people have reportedly been killed after mortar fire hit an election rally in support of president Bashar al-Assad in southern Syria.
The attack also wounded at least 30 people as Assad supporters gathered in a tent in the city of Deraa, according to the UK-based watchdog Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The watchdog said a child was among those killed in the mortar attack, the first of its kind on Assad supporters since campaigning got underway earlier this month.
Pro-government militiamen were also among those killed in the attack, which was carried out by an Islamist rebel brigade.
Mr Assad was not at the event.
Syria is holding an election next month that looks all but certain to return the president to power for a third term.
He faces two little known challengers in next month’s vote and is widely expected to clinch a third seven-year term in office despite the raging civil war.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the attack “is a clear message from rebels to the regime that there is not one safe area in which to hold the election”.
The June 3 poll will be held only in regime-controlled areas and has been branded as a farce by the exiled opposition and its Western supporters.