In this photo released on the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency, President Bashar Assad casts his vote as Syrian first lady Asma Assad, right, stands next to him at a polling station, in Damascus. Picture: Syrian Presidency via Facebook

Paris -

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Tuesday denounced the “fake” presidential election in Syria, saying it would not help resolve the bloody conflict in any way.

“In this election the choice was between Bashar (al-Assad) and Bashar (al-Assad),” Fabius said, referring to the Syrian leader.

“This fake election will serve to justify Bashar al-Assad's ability to continue the type of policies we all recognise, which are a merciless fight (against the opposition) and keeping himself in power.”

Assad is expected to win a crushing victory over two little known challengers in the vote, which the Syrian opposition have condemned as a “farce”.

The United Nations has warned that the three-year-old conflict is likely to drag on even longer as a result of the ballot.

There was no voting in the roughly 60 percent of the country outside the control of Assad's government, which includes large areas of Syria's former commercial capital Aleppo. - Sapa-AFP