Anti-Assad Syrians celebrate regime ally Russia’s World Cup exit
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World Cup 2018

Anti-Assad Syrians celebrate regime ally Russia’s World Cup exit

After hosts of soccer tournament are ousted by Croatia, rebels say 'one day, they'll be kicked out of Syria'

Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, right, celebrates Ivan Rakitic at the end of the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, right, celebrates Ivan Rakitic at the end of the quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, July 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrians opposed to the Moscow-backed regime of President Bashar Assad have taken to social media to celebrate Russia’s exit from the soccer World Cup.

Croatia defeated the hosts in a tense quarterfinal penalty shootout on Saturday night in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

“Croatia squashes Russia and kicks them out of the World Cup,” Abu al-Hoda al-Homsi, an activist in rebel-held northern Syria, wrote on Twitter.

“One day, they’ll be kicked out of Syria by the Syrian people.”

Russia intervened militarily on Assad’s side in 2015, four years into Syria’s conflict, and has since helped the regime regain large parts of the country from rebels and jihadists.

“Praise God for making Russians cry and giving joy to Syrian and Arabs,” tweeted Ahmed Ramadan of the exiled opposition’s National Coalition.

Syria’s war has killed 350,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests in 2011.

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