Bashar al-Assad


    Bashar Hafez al-Assad ( , Levantine pronunciation: ; born 11 September 1965) is the President of Syria, commander-in-chief of Syrian Armed Forces, General Secretary of the ruling Ba’ath Party and Regional Secretary of the party’s branch in Syria. He has served as President since 2000, when he succeeded his father, Hafez al-Assad, who led Syria for 30 years until his death. Assad graduated from the medical school of Damascus University in 1988, and started to work as a doctor in the army. Four years later, he attended postgraduate studies at the Western Eye Hospital, in London, specializing in ophthalmology. In 1994, after his elder brother Bassel was killed in a car crash, Bashar was recalled to Syria to take over Bassel’s role as heir apparent. He entered the military academy, taking charge of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 1998. In December 2000, Assad married Asma Assad, born Akhras. Assad was reconfirmed by the national electorate as President of Syria in 2000 and 2007, after the People’s Council of Syria had voted to propose the incumbent uncontested each time. The Assad government has described itself as secular, while experts have contended that the government exploits ethnic and sectarian tensions in the country to remain in power. The Syrian opposition, the United States, Canada, the European Union and the majority of the Arab League have called for al-Assad’s resignation from the presidency. During the Syrian Civil War, Assad was personally implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United Nations, and was the top of a list of individuals indicted for the greatest responsibility in war crimes for prosecution by the International Criminal Court. In November 2014, the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced that evidence would be brought against Assad. In January 2015, it was reported that 200,000 political prisoners were in jail in Syria for opposing Assad’s government. In late April 2014, Assad announced he would run for a third term in Syria’s first multi-candidate direct presidential election in decades, amid serious concerns by the European Union, the United States and other countries regarding the legitimacy of this vote and the effect it will have on peace talks with the Syrian Opposition. He was sworn in for his third seven-year term, on July 16, 2014, in the presidential palace in Damascus.


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