Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad Diagnosed with Leukemia

DUBAI – Syria’s first lady, Asma al-Assad, has been diagnosed with leukemia, the Syrian presidency announced on Tuesday. This diagnosis comes almost five years after she declared she had fully recovered from breast cancer.

The statement indicated that Asma, 48, would undergo a special treatment protocol requiring her to isolate, leading her to step away from public engagements.

In August 2019, Asma al-Assad announced her full recovery from breast cancer, which had been detected early. Since the onset of the Syrian war in 2011, the British-born former investment banker has played a prominent public role, leading charity efforts and meeting with families of deceased soldiers. However, she has also become a controversial figure, widely disliked by opposition groups.

Asma al-Assad oversees the Syria Trust for Development, a significant non-governmental organization that coordinates various aid and development operations across the country.

In a notable public appearance last year, she accompanied her husband, President Bashar al-Assad, on an official visit to the United Arab Emirates. This was her first known official trip abroad with him since 2011. During the visit, she met with Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the mother of the Emirati president, marking a significant public engagement and underscoring her evolving role in public affairs.

Asma al-Assad’s leukemia diagnosis adds to the challenges faced by the Syrian first family amidst ongoing political and humanitarian crises in the country.