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Syrian First Lady Asma Assad treated for breast cancer

09 August 2018

"Asma al-Assad is beginning the first stage of treatment for a malignant tumour in the breast that was discovered at an early stage", the presidency announced on its social media accounts.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad with his wife, Asma Assad in a hospital room has she goes through her treatment for breast cancer.

This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency Facebook page on August 8, 2018, shows the Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad carrying papers as she begins treatment for early-stage breast cancer.

"From the heart. the presidency of the republic and its working group wishing Mrs. Asma speedy recovery".

The public disclosure of a serious health issue in the top echelons of an Arab state is quite rare as such matters are usually shrouded in secrecy.

The 42-year-old first lady was once thought to be a reforming influence on her husband's administration, but she turned a blind eye to the brutality inflicted upon Syrians by the Assad government, as the seven-year conflict became one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. In the early days of the Syrian war after 2011, many suggested Ms Al Assad was ignorant of the decisions her husband was taking.

The idea she doesn't know the extent of brutal war has now largely been discounted.

Ms Al Assad was born and raised in London to Syrian parents before moving back to Syria after meeting the president.

Asma's last foreign interview was conducted in October 2016 with Kremlin-backed RT, in which she said she turned down offers from foreign adversaries for guarantees of safety and financial security if she fled the war-torn country.

The couple were initially presented as reformers and as a change from the repressive rule of the late president, with a glowing portrait of Mrs Assad published by Vogue in February 2011 - and since deleted - describing her as "the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies".

Syrian First Lady Asma Assad treated for breast cancer