Asma Al Assad receives leukaemia diagnosis

Syria's first lady had recovered from breast cancer in 2019

This photo posted Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018 on the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad sitting next to his wife Asma Assad with an IV in her left arm in what appears to be a hospital room, in Syria. Syria's presidency said that the first lady has begun treatment for breast cancer. The statement said the "malignant tumor" was discovered in its early stages. Such announcements are uncommon in the Arab world. (Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency via AP)
Powered by automated translation

Syria's first lady Asma Al Assad has “acute myelogenous leukaemia”, the Syrian state news agency, Sana, said on Tuesday.

Ms Al Assad was exhibiting “symptoms and clinical signs” of the disease before medical tests, it said.

The first lady will undergo treatment, including protocols that require her to be isolated and experience “social distancing”, Sana reported.

“She will stay away from direct work and participating in events and activities as part of the treatment plan.”

In 2018, Ms Al Assad was diagnosed with breast cancer after a malignant tumour was discovered, state media reported at the time.

A year later, she announced that she had “fully recovered” from her illness.

“My journey is over, with all its pain and weariness, its drawbacks and even its positives. Praise God, it's over. I have fully triumphed over cancer,” she said at the time, adding that she had been receiving chemotherapy treatment at a Syrian military hospital.

Last year, she accompanied her husband, President Bashar Al Assad, on a visit to the UAE in her first official trip abroad with him since the war began in 2011.

Ms Al Assad, a British-born former investment banker, heads several charities dealing with the families of soldiers killed in the war.

She runs the Syria Trust for Development, an NGO that acts as an umbrella organisation for many of the aid and development operations in the country.

Many Syrians accuse her of being complicit in Assad regime crimes against civilians.

The war has displaced more than 11 million Syrians, creating one of the biggest refugee crises in recent history.

Ms Al Assad was born and raised in London to Syrian parents before returning to Syria after meeting the President.

She married Mr Al Assad in 2000, and the couple has three children.

Updated: May 21, 2024, 10:56 AM