Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrives to lead Eid Prayers in the town of Qara in western Syria, a former stronghold of Islamic State. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave prayers on Friday (September 1) for Islam's Eid al-Adha festival in the town of Qara, near an enclave surrendered on Monday (August 28) by Islamic State fighters. Confined to Damascus for long periods in the early part of Syria's six-year civil war, Assad has grown more confident in travelling around government-held areas as the army and its allies have won a series of victories. The departure of IS and other groups from the Western Qalamoun district means the border with Lebanon is Syria's first to be controlled entirely by its army since early in the conflict. The IS fighters in the border pocket accepted a truce and evacuation deal after simultaneous but separate offensives by the Lebanese army on one front and the Syrian army and Hezbollah on the other.