In a joint statement released a day ahead of Syria’s national elections, some Western countries denounced the poll, which they said would be neither free nor fair.
President Bashar Assad, in power since 2000, is seeking a fourth seven-year term, running against two obscure candidates in an election that he is widely expected to win.
"For an election to be credible, all Syrians should be allowed to participate, including internally displaced Syrians, refugees, and members of the diaspora, in a safe and neutral environment," said the statement released by the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States.
"Without these elements, this fraudulent election does not represent any progress towards a political settlement," the statement went on, urging the international community to reject what they said is Assad’s bid to remain in power.
Assad has overseen a 10-year war in Syria that has internally displaced 6.7 million people and forced 6.6 million more to seek refuge internationally, according to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Cindy Saine contributed to this report.