Syrian first lady Asma Assad diagnosed with leukemia


Syrian first lady Asma Assad has been diagnosed with leukemia, the office of President Bashar Assad announced Tuesday.

The president's wife was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia "after presenting with several symptoms and following a comprehensive series of medical tests and examinations," the statement said.

She will "adhere to a specialized treatment protocol that includes stringent infection prevention measures" and "will temporarily withdraw from all direct engagements" as part of the treatment plan, it added.

Acute myeloid leukemia is an aggressive cancer of the bone marrow and the blood.

Asma Assad has previously been treated for breast cancer. In August 2019, she announced that she was "completely" free of the disease a year after her diagnosis.

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, although her family is originally from central Syria, the first lady is a powerful and divisive figure. She is under western sanctions and has been a highly controversial figure in the course of the Syrian conflict.

She was an investment banker before quitting to marry the then-newly minted President Bashar Assad, in 2000. She has since maintained a public role, promoting civil and charity groups, but has been accused of using her British education and Western style to try to mask the brutality of her husband's crackdown on dissent.

The war, which has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country's pre-war population of of 23 million, began as peaceful protests against Assad's government in March 2011.

The protests were met by a brutal crackdown, and the revolt quickly spiraled into a full-blown civil war.

The announcement of Assad's diagnosis came as her influential NGO, the Syrian Trust for Development, was putting on its annual Damascene Rose Festival celebrating the rose harvest season.

Prior to the announcement of that she would be withdrawing from public events, the first lady had been widely expected to attend the festivities.

Comments 1
Default-user-icon Shlichim (Guest) 23 May 2024, 21:34

Very odd how these first ladies - that UK and the West- want eliminated- suddenly cancer stricken. First Kate of Great Britain who Royals want to dispose of so Prince William can marry a fellow Royal named Rose, and now British citizen Asma. Reminds of 2007-2012 period when S American leaders who opposed the West like Chavez, faced a rash of lethal cancer outbreak assassinations.