Syria president to newly captured town for Eid prayers

  230

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad has traveled to a town recently captured from Islamic State group militants to attend Eid al-Adha prayers.

Syria's state media says President Bashar Assad prayed Friday in Bilal mosque in Qarat, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Damascus. Qarat fell during a joint offensive between Syria's army and Lebanon's Hezbollah. The Lebanese army carried out a separate but simultaneous campaign on the other side of the border, securing the shared frontier for the first time in years.

The offensive was followed by a controversial a Hezbollah-negotiated deal to transport the remaining militants to an IS-held town in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border in exchange for revealing the fate of missing Lebanese fighters.

The deal angered Iraq and the U.S., which launched airstrikes, disrupting the deal.