Syria’s national soccer team met with President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, October 23, in Damascus, to celebrate the team reaching the World Cup qualifying play-offs.
The team played Australia on October 10, but lost the match 2-1.
Syrian dissidents Firas al-Khatib and Omar al-Soma returned to play with the national team after years in exile. Al-Soma and Al-Khatib were banned from the team in 2012 after expressing support for the Syrian opposition, as reported by UK-based Al Araby. They are seen in these photos with Assad. Credit: Facebook/Syrian Presidency via Storyful