DAMASCUS: Campaigning began Sunday for Syria’s June 3 presidential election expected to return Bashar al-Assad to power, as the regime marked a symbolic victory with the exit of rebels from Homs. In Damascus, campaign posters lauding Assad hung on shopping streets and in public gardens, in the run-up to the country’s first multi-candidate presidential vote. The election is being staged despite a raging civil war, with dozens of people dying across the country every day. Voting will only be held in territory under government control, excluding large areas held by rebels, and refugees who fled through unofficial crossings are barred from voting. Assad, who is competing for his third seven-year term, came to office in 2000, after the death of his father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad, who had been in power since 1970.