'Satan is praying', activists say as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad performs Eid Prayers in Aleppo
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took part in Eid al-Adha prayers in the city of Aleppo for the first time since the country’s uprising began.
The regime’s leader performed the Islamic prayer in the Abdullah bin Abbas Mosque alongside the country's former mufti, Ahmed Badr al-Din Hassoun, in addition to a number of clerics.
The dictator visited the heavily damaged Aleppo province on Friday for the first time in almost 11 years, after fierce fighting saw the regime claim victory over Aleppo city in 2016, with the backing of Russia.
"What happened in this war is just a deviation in the course of history, we will return it together to its true place… the traces of the terrorists’ path are just dust that we will shake off and… will sweep to the dustbins of history," Assad said, according to the pro-regime Syrian News Channel.
Activists were outraged, referring to the praying dictator as “Satan”.
ما عذرك يا تارك الصلاة وأنت ترى الشيطان يصلي ؟! #بشار_الأسد #صلاة_العيد pic.twitter.com/txljcTC3Sd— عمر مدنيه (@Omar_Madaniah) July 9, 2022
“What’s your excuse for not praying when you can see Satan praying,” one Twitter user wrote.
Others took a comedic approach.
“There is no evidence that he is praying This is a yoga pose, not a prayer,” one user said.
Others referred to Assad’s “audacity” to visit Aleppo in the first place.
المجرم بشار الأسد وعيلته زاروا اليوم مدينة حلب لأول مرة من سنوات طويلة، زار مدينة عمرها أكثر من 7000 سنة ودمرها هو بسهولة خلال 11 سنة..— Ivar (@ivarmm) July 9, 2022
قمة الوقاحة pic.twitter.com/eJCWsVKpGY
“He visited a city that is more than 7000 years old that he destroyed it easily within 11 years.. the pinnacle of audacity”, a user wrote.
The Syrian regime does not have authority over the entire of Aleppo province.
Areas on the Turkish border still controlled by Ankara-backed groups and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces. Opposition forces also control the province's western countryside.
The ongoing conflict in Syria has killed over 500,000 people, most of whom were killed at the hands of the regime and its Russian ally.