The result of Syria’s presidential election was a foregone conclusion but it still strengthens President Bashar al-Asad’s grip on power. Faced increasingly with a choice between Asad and radical jihadist opposition groups, western countries have no good options.

Three candidates ran for president, though from the beginning it was impossible for either of Mr Asad’s two opponents to muster the votes to pose a legitimate threat to his rule. (CONTINUED - 1421 WORDS)