Health struggle

Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad receiving treatments for cancer, government says

Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad. (Syrian government)

Asma al-Assad, the first lady of Syria, has been diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband announced Wednesday on official Syrian presidency’s Twitter account. According to Bashar al-Assad’s Twitter feed, doctors discovered a malignant tumor that is early-stage. One post showed the dictator by her side as she received an IV drip, presumably of some form of chemotherapy. A subsequent post on Twitter showed the first lady with a white wrap around her wrist and a quote that read, according to a translation, “I am one of these people who taught the world to stand up and strength and to confront the odds. My resolve stems from your determination and your fortitude all the years before.”

The Guardian reported Bashar al-Assad’s office issued a statement as well, which echoed the sentiment posted on social media. “With strength and confidence and faith, Mrs. Asma al-Assad begins the preliminary stage of treatment for a malignant tumor in the breast that was discovered early,” it read. “From its heart, the presidency and all those who work in it wish Mrs. Asma a speedy recovery.”

Asma al-Assad was born and raised in London and married Bashar, an ophthalmologist who was educated in the U.K., in 2000. They have three children together. In the ensuing years, she has proven to be an enigmatic and controversial figure, particularly since Syria has been overcome by a seemingly endless and brutal civil war, and as her husband has carried out deadly chemical attacks on his own people.

Throughout the war there, which began six years ago, she has remained largely silent on the human tragedy unfolding there — apart from criticizing the U.S. for retaliatory airstrikes after the chemical attacks. But from time to time, she has appeared in propaganda photos that are released through her and the government’s social media accounts. Thanks to her glamorous looks, she was once dubbed as “A Rose in the Desert” in a 2012 profile by Vogue magazine, which sparked a furious backlash and led to the article being retracted. She has also been referred to as “the first lady from hell.” She was placed under sanctions by the European Union after her husband authorized a brutally violent response to the uprising in Syria in 2012.

Read the full story at The Guardian

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