Al-Assad calls refugees back
EPA/SANA PhotoThe Syrian government called yesterday on those who fled the country during the civil war to return, including regime opponents.
The state-run SANA news agency said the government will help hundreds of thousands of citizens return whether they left “legally or illegally.” Syrian opposition figures abroad who want to take part in reconciliation talks will also be allowed back, according to an Interior Ministry statement carried by SANA late Jan. 24. If they “have the desire to participate in the national dialogue, they would be allowed to enter Syria,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, a large number of Syrians heeded a call by the authorities to join weekly Friday prayers for security and gathered in mosques across the country, SANA said. “Popular participation was broad in the prayer in mosques across Syria for the return of safety and security to the homeland,” SANA said, a day after a Muslim feast in which the authorities called for a “million-man prayer.”
State television broadcast footage of prayers at the Umayyad mosque in central Damascus, showing hundreds of people, as Sheikh Mohammed Said Ramadan al-Bouti, a top cleric frequently featured on television, led the prayer.