Cancer doesn’t discriminate. The wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, according to statements and images posted to social media by the Syrian Presidency. The British-born Asma al-Assad is 42, a mother of three – and a controversial figure. An official photo posted to Facebook shows her smiling at her husband, with an IV attached to her arm. Talking about breast cancer is something of a taboo in the Middle East, and in most cases the disease is detected at an advanced stage.
"..أنا من هذا الشعب الذي علّم العالم الصمود والقوّة ومجابهة الصعاب.. وعزيمتي نابعة من عزيمتكم وثباتكم كلّ السنوات السابقة.."
— Syrian Presidency (@Presidency_Sy) August 8, 2018
The unusual announcement about the health of the first lady had few details, but did state that the cancer was caught early and that Mrs. Assad was undergoing the first stage of treatment. The Presidency also released a statement from the first lady saying, “I belong to the [Syrian] people who taught the world steadfastness, strength and how to face difficulties. My determination comes from your determination and strength in the past years.”