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asma al assad

Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad has been diagnosed with breast cancer, officials confirmed on August 8.

President Bashar al-Assad’s wife was receiving treatment for an early-stage malignant tumor.

Born and raised in London, Asma al-Assad has been a highly controversial figure.

The Syrian first lady was one of twelve people placed under EU sanctions in 2012 over the government’s violent response to the Syrian uprising.

A photograph of Asma al-Assad and her husband was posted on Twitter together with the words: “Mrs. Asma al-Assad begins the first stage of treatment for a malignant breast tumor that was discovered early…. the Presidency and its team wish Mrs. Asma a speedy recovery.”

A dual British-Syrian national, Asma al-Assad attended school and university in London before becoming an investment banker.

She moved to Syria in 2000 and married former ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad, just months after he succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad as president.

Bashar and Asma al-Assad were initially presented as reformers and as a change from the repressive rule of the late president, with a glowing portrait of the first lady published by Vogue in February 2011 – and since deleted – describing her as “the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies”.

Syrian War: Asma al-Assad Rejected Asylum Offer

EU set to impose travel ban and asset freeze on Syria First Lady Asma al-Assad

However, just a month later, police reacted brutally to protests in the southern city of Deraa, sparking a conflict which has claimed the lives of around half a million people and displaced millions more.

In her first public comments on the violence in February 2012, Asma al-Assad firmly stood beside her husband.

The same year, activists released thousands of private emails purportedly from the president and his wife apparently showing that Asma al-Assad continued to buy luxury goods even after the uprising had begun. She was also personally sanctioned by the EU.

Asma al-Assad did not speak to foreign media again until 2016, when she told Russian state-backed television that she had previously rejected offers of asylum abroad.

Bashar al-Assad’s wife, Asma, has said she rejected a deal to offer her safe passage out of Syria in order to stay by her husband’s side.

Syria’s First Lady Asma al-Assad revealed she believed those offering her a new home were trying to undermine her husband’s presidency.

In an interview with Russian state-backed television, Asma al-Assad refused to say who made the offer.

EU foreign ministers are set to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on Syria First Lady Asma al-Assad

She also thanked Russia for its “noble efforts” supporting the regime.

Asma al-Assad, whose social media pages are filled with pictures of her meeting orphans and the injured, told Rossiya 24: “I’ve been here since the beginning and I never thought of being anywhere else at all.

“Yes I was offered the opportunity to leave Syria or rather to run from Syria. These offers included guarantees of safety and protection for my children and even financial security.

“It doesn’t take a genius to know what these people were really after. It was a deliberate attempt to shatter people’s confidence in their president.”

Asma al-Assad, a former investment banker who was born in London, has been Syria’s first lady since 2000, after Bashar al-Assad took over the presidency from his father Hafez, who had ruled since 1971.

The Syrian civil war began after pro-democracy campaigners demanding that Bashar al-Assad step aside took to the streets in March 2011, and were violently repressed by the authorities.

EU foreign ministers are set to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on Syria First Lady Asma al-Assad, diplomats say.

The UK-born wife of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is among 12 Syrians to be added to a number of figures, including the president, who are already subject to sanctions.

It was unclear whether the ban would stop Asma al-Assad from travelling to the UK.

Anti-government activists accuse the regime of killing thousands of protesters over the past year.

In recent weeks, the Damascus government has stepped up its efforts to crush pockets of rebellion in cities including Homs and Hama.

Every day, activists report dozens of deaths and more protests.

President Bashar al-Assad has promised political reform, but observers and his opponents have dismissed his plans as window-dressing.

EU foreign ministers are set to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on Syria First Lady Asma al-Assad

EU foreign ministers are set to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on Syria First Lady Asma al-Assad

For years there was a perception that Asma al-Assad’s Western upbringing could encourage reform in Syria.

Asma al-Assad, 36, who is of Syrian descent but spent much of her life in west London, has generally played a low-key role in the regime.

However, in February Asma al-Assad wrote to Britain’s Times newspaper to explain why she thought her husband was still the right man to lead Syria.

Last week activists released some 3,000 emails they said were from private accounts belonging to Bashar al-Assad and his wife.

The messages, which have not been independently verified, suggested Asma al-Assad continued to shop online for luxury goods even after the uprising was in full swing.

The UN says at least 8,000 people have died since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began last March.

Bashar al-Assad and his allies say terrorist and armed gangs are behind the violence, and say hundreds of security personnel have been killed fighting them.