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Syria's Assad attends Eid prayers at Damascus mosque Open in fullscreen

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Syria's Assad attends Eid prayers at Damascus mosque

Bashar al-Assad at al-Rawda mosque in Damascus [Twitter]

Date of publication: 21 August, 2018

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The president's visit is the first since his regime recaptured suburbs of Damascus earlier this year.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended Eid al-Adha prayers in Damascus on Tuesday.

State-run television showed Assad saluting worshippers as he arrived 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 regime 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.

Comment: Selling a phoney peace in Syria

Last year, Assad travelled to Hama to pray at a large mosque in the city, the furthest the Syrian president had travelled from the capital in years. 

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.

The ruthless offensives waged on opposition-held territory, that have seen thousands of civilians killed - have formed the basis of Assad's strategy to reclaim land.

Residents of Idlib are fearing a large-scale military offensive in the near future as Assad vows to retake all of Syria.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the seven-year civil war, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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