Chechen religious leaders re-open landmark mosque in Syria

MOSCOW (AP) — Religious leaders of Russia's republic of Chechnya have inaugurated a re-opened landmark mosque in Syria's Homs, once the symbol of the rebellion against President Bashar Assad.

In 2013, Syrian government forces captured the Khalid Ibn al-Walid mosque, which sustained heavy damage in the fighting.

Authorities of Russia's mostly Muslim republic of Chechnya undertook the reconstruction efforts for this and other major mosques in Syria, following the start of Russia's military campaign there in 2015. The funds are coming from a murky foundation run by the family of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Chechen television on Thursday showed footage of the re-opening ceremony, which took place Wednesday. Chechnya's chief mufti Salah Mezhiyev expressed his greetings to Syrian officials and thanked them for the chance to rebuild the mosque.