Dubai: The UAE has joined the list of countries that have decided to ban voting for the Syrian elections on its land, official sources from the UAE Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. The UAE Foreign Ministry confirmed reports that the UAE government has banned Syrian expats to vote in presidential elections because the UAE does not believe the elections are ‘fair’ or ‘real’. The UAE joined other countries like Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France, Germany and the United Nations, which are reported to have already boycotted the elections, believing that it is a ‘joke’ and an ‘illegitimate’ election.

According to Arab media sources citing the Syrian Arab News Agency (Sana), the Syrian Foreign Ministry said: “The UAE has joined other countries in banning elections on its land, depriving more than 30,000 Syrian living in the UAE who have registered their names on the list of those willing to vote.”

The elections are expected to result in Bashar Al Assad maintaining his post as president on June third.

As a result of the ban, rumours have been spread that the Syrian airlines ‘Syria Air’ will be flying residents to Syria for the sole purpose of voting, free of charge. An employee from Syria Air denied the rumours. Gulf News spoke to UAE residents to learn about what they think of the election ban. Faisal Abdullah, a 55-year-old resident said he is with the ban.

“Of course I am against it because I believe that the election is a joke. They created a constitution where anyone can elect himself however they imposed rules and criteria that make it impossible to be considered as a legitimate candidate. They then choose three candidates just for the show.” As a 55-year-old Syrian Abdullah said he always dreamt of voting for a president in a multi-candidate, democratic election. “If they were actually legitimate I would have actually considered getting on a plane just to vote, and make my dream come true.” Nisreen Shams a 22-year-old resident on the other hand said she is also with the ban for humanitarian reasons.

“I am not with the regime or the opposition; actually I am against them both. However I am with the ban on the grounds that Bashar Al Assad, who is part of the problem and the bloodshed in my country, is re-electing himself and will probably win.”