DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad has been sworn in for a fourth seven-year term in the war-torn country. The May elections were described by the West and his opposition as illegitimate and a sham. In power since 2000, Assad’s re-election in a landslide was never in doubt. The swearing-in ceremony Saturday was held at the presidential palace. It was attended by clergymen, members of parliament, army officers. The country is still devastated by the 10-year war and sliding deeper into a worsening economic crisis. The U.N. estimates that more than 80% of Syrians live under the poverty line.
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