Assad tours war-torn Aleppo first time since the start of war
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad observed Eid al-Adha in the former rebel stronghold Aleppo, a first visit since the start of the Syrian conflict 11 years ago, Syrian state news agency said.
The visit comes at a time when Turkey is threatening to launch an attack against Tel Rifat, a town in the vicinity of Aleppo.
Photographs published by the state agency showed Assad and his family walking through Aleppo's heavily damaged historic covered market and performing Eid al-Adha prayer at a mosque in the city.
Earlier on Friday he visited a major power plant in the countryside of the province's east and supervised the relaunching of a water pumping station, a statement from the Syrian presidency said.
Assad's 2016 victory -- backed by Russian military force -- after four years of rebel control in Aleppo turned the tide in the Syrian conflict but the Syrian government still lacks authority in areas on the Turkish border that are controlled by Ankara-backed groups and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces.