Feb. 26 - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad votes in a referendum that could keep him in power until 2028. Katharine Jackson reports.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife cast votes for a new constitution in Damascus. The new constitution would drop an article making Assad's party the leader of state and society, allow political pluralism and limit the president to two seven-year terms . This limit - however - would not apply retroactively, so Assad could serve another two terms after his current term expires in 2014, keeping him in power until 2028. As some Syrians voted, others appeared to be under attack. Amateur video obtained online - which cannot be independently verified by Reuters - purports to show shelling in Homs, a flashpoint in the revolt against four decades of Assad family rule. Human rights groups say at least 131 people were killed in Syria this weekend. This is Syria's third referendum since Assad inherited power. The first made him president in 2000 with a 97 percent 'Yes' vote. The second renewed his term seven years later with nearly 98 percent voting 'Yes.' Katharine Jackson, Reuters.