Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad treated for breast cancer

I want my daughter to have a future’ Returning Syrian refugees explain urge to come back home

Marko Djurica Reuters

The Syrian first lady, Asma al Assad, is being treated for breast cancer in Damascus.

The Syrian presidency posted on its Facebook page a photo of President Bashar Assad sitting next to his wife in a hospital room with an IV drip in her left arm.

Born and raised in London, the Syrian first lady has been a highly controversial figure.

She moved to Syria in 2000 and married former ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad, just months after he succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad as president.

"Strong, confident and faithful - Mrs Asma al-Assad begins the initial stage of treatment for a malignant tumour of the breast, discovered early", a statement said.

How Nasa will attempt to ‘touch the Sun’
In the coming week NASA is launching its Parker Solar Probe; a spacecraft that's specially designed "to touch the sun". Likewise, scientists hope the probe's small-scale, short-term analysis will improve space weather prediction models.

Asma is heavily involved in charity work, and has created a variety of organizations that function under the charity sector of the Syrian government. Her assets were frozen as a result of the sanctions, and she was unable to travel to any country in the EU. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom before moving back to Syria after meeting the president.

Before the crisis began in March 2011, she was the subject of flattering profiles in Vogue and other fashion magazines. One month later, Bashar waged a violent crackdown on his own people that would result in the decimation of Syria and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths.

She did not speak to foreign media again until 2016, when she told Russian state-backed television that she had previously rejected offers of asylum overseas.

"I've been here since the beginning, and I never thought of being anywhere else at all", the first lady said in the interview.

The same photo was posted on Asma's Instagram account, prompting a flurry of good wishes from many of her 260,000 followers.

Latest News