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Syria’s Assad attends holiday prayers at Damascus mosque

August 21, 2018

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad has attended prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in Damascus, the seat of his power.

State-run television showed Assad saluting worshippers as he arrived Tuesday at the al-Rawda mosque and various footage of him praying and talking to people following prayers.

It’s the first Eid al-Adha since Syrian troops, backed by Russia, recaptured suburbs of Damascus earlier this year and areas in southern Syria previously held by rebels.

In recent years, Assad has often traveled outside Damascus to towns and villages recaptured from rebels or Islamic State fighters to attend holiday prayers there.

With crucial military support from allies Russia and Iran, Assad’s troops have recaptured most rebel strongholds across the country. The northern province of Idlib is the last major remaining opposition bastion.

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