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“I have elected the newcomers because they have fresh ideas and are different from the old generation,” said Damascus voter Mohammed Hassan, 25. He said those boycotting the vote were “agents of the West.”

World leaders remain divided over the next steps in Syria. About 40 U.N. observers are in the country, and U.N. officials hope a wider deployment of up to 300 international truce monitors will gradually calm the situation.

Kennedy reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus, Ben Hubbard in Beirut and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.