An election that is likely to give President Bashar Assad third term will take place regardless of war or politics, the Syrian government said Tuesday.
Elections would not be delayed and that military operations would continue regardless of the poll, pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi as saying on its website on Tuesday.
"We will not allow security, military, or domestic or foreign political reasons to delay or cancel the presidential election," he told them.
Assad, who is battling a three-year-old rebellion against his rule, has not said whether he will stand in the election due by July, but allies in Russia and Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah have predicted he will stand and win.
International powers who back Syria's opposition have described the plans to hold elections as a "parody of democracy" that would destroy peace talks.
His forces have advanced around the capital Damascus and the Lebanese border in recent months, helping secure the country's center under government control.
On Monday, a former Russian prime minister was quoted as saying Assad forecast that much of the war's fighting would be over by the end of the year.
The same day, the leader of Hezbollah, which has sent fighters to Syria to aid Assad, was quoted as saying the president no longer faced a threat of being overthrown.