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Bashar al-Assad
بشار حافظ الأسد
Bashar al-Assad (cropped).jpg
President of Syria
Assumed office
17 July 2000
Prime Minister
Vice President
Preceded by Abdul Halim Khaddam (Acting)
Regional Secretary of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
Assumed office
24 June 2000
Deputy
Leader Abdullah al-Ahmar
Preceded by Hafez al-Assad
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
Assumed office
21 June 2000
Personal details
Born
Bashar Hafez al-Assad

11 September 1965 (1965-09-11) (age 56)
Damascus, Syria
Political party Ba'ath Party
Other political
affiliations
National Progressive Front
Spouse(s) Asma al-Akhras
Children Hafez
Zein
Karim
Alma mater Damascus University
Military service
Allegiance  Syria
Branch/service Syrian Armed Forces
Years of service 1988–
Rank Syria-Mushir.jpg Marshal
Unit Republican Guard
Presently serving as commander-in-chief
Battles/wars Syrian civil war (2011–)

Bashar Hafez al-Assad (born 11 September 1965) is the president of Syria and the head of the Ba'ath Party in Syria.

Assad has had those jobs since the death of his father Hafez al-Assad (1930-2000), who had ruled Syria since 1971. Bashar al-Assad was elected in 2000, and re-elected in 2007.

Early life

Assad was born on 11 September 1965 in Damascus, Syria to Hafez al-Assad. He had two brothers, Bassel al-Assad and Shabbih Maher al-Assad, and one sister, Bushra al-Assad. Bashar was quiet and reserved and says that he lacked interest in politics or the military.

Education

Assad studied medicine at the University of Damascus and graduated in 1988. He then studied ophthalmology at a military hospital, and in 1992 studied at the Western Eye Hospital in London.

His father wanted Assad's elder brother Bassel to succeed him as leader of Syria. Bassel died in a car accident in 1994, and Assad returned home to Syria.

Early career

He went to a military academy at Homs, and became a colonel after only five years. He worked as an adviser to his father, and took action against corruption.

Presidency

When his father died, the government changed the constitution. Under Syrian law the president had to be at least 40 years old. With law changed, Assad was able to be elected President of Syria in June 2000. He was also made commander in chief of the armed forces, and leader of the Ba'ath Party which has ruled Syria since 1961.

Syrian Civil War

Large protests began in January 2011. The protesters wanted political reforms, an end to the state of emergency (which had been in place since 1963), and the return of civil rights. The protests in March were the largest to take place, and the government used violence against the protestors.

The United States placed sanctions against the Assad government in April 2011. Canada and the European Union also placed sanctions against the government in May 2011.

In June 2011, Assad promised reform, a new parliarmentary election, and more freedoms. He also urged refugees to return to Syria.

In January 2012, Reuters claimed that over 5,000 civilians and protesters (including militants) had been killed by the Syrian army, security agents and militia, while 1,100 people had been killed by terrorists.

In January 2012, Assad gave a speech in which he claimed that the uprising was being engineered by foreign countries. He said that a new referendum could be held in March.

The referendum was held in February 2012. The referendum would change the term limits of future Syrian presidents. It passed with 90% support. The U.S. and Turkey did not accept the results. The European Union pushed new sanctions on the government.

In June 2012, the ICRC announced that Syria was in a civil war. The national death toll on both sides reached 20,000.

In 2014 and 2015, he began to lose some support from the Alawite community. This was because an unequal number of soldiers killed in the conflict were Alawites.

Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad (2015-10-21)
Assad with Vladimir Putin.

In September 2015, Russia got involved in the Syrian Civil War. President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that Russia's goal in Syria is to "stabilis[e] the legitimate power in Syria and creat[e] the conditions for political compromise." In November 2015, Assad said that the two months of Russian intervention had accomplished more than the U.S.-led coalition had done in a year.

In December 2016, government forces recovered most of Aleppo from rebel forces.

After the election of Donald Trump, the U.S. no longer wished to remove Assad from power. That changed after the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. Donald Trump ordered missile strikes to hit a Syrian airbase. Assad responded by saying that the United States's behaviour was an "unjust and arrogant aggression." He also said that the Syrian army had given up all its chemical weapons in 2013. He claimed that the chemical attack was a lie and was used to justify a U.S. airstrike.

As of March 2018, between 350,000 and 511,000 people have been killed in the civil war.

Personal life

Assad is married to Asma al-Akhras. Together, they have three children; Hafez, Jr., Zein, and Karim al-Assad.

Influenced by his western education and urban upbringing, Bashar initially seemed eager to implement a cultural revolution in Syria.

In March 2021 Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his wife, Asma, tested positive for the coronavirus.

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