Alma al-Assad is undergoing treatment for breast cancer

Syria’s first lady is reportedly being treated at a military hospital in Damascus

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad sits next to his wife Asma as she begins treatment for early-stage breast cancer at a hospital in the capital Damascus. Photograph: Syrian presidency Facebook page/AFP/Getty Images

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad sits next to his wife Asma as she begins treatment for early-stage breast cancer at a hospital in the capital Damascus. Photograph: Syrian presidency Facebook page/AFP/Getty Images

 

Syria’s British-born first lady Asma al-Assad has begun treatment for breast cancer.

The Syrian presidency posted on its Facebook page a photo of president Bashar al-Assad sitting next to his wife in a hospital room with an IV drip in her left arm.

The accompanying statement said the “malignant tumour” was discovered in its early stages.

State news agency Sana said the first lady is undergoing treatment at a military hospital in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The parents of 42-year-old Asma are originally from the central Syrian province of Homs. She was born and raised in the UK before moving to Syria after meeting the president.

Since Syria’s civil war broke out, Ms Assad has mostly been seen in public receiving families of fallen soldiers, or hosting people wounded in the conflict, now in its eighth year, which has killed more than 400,000 people.

Before the crisis began in March 2011, she was the subject of flattering profiles in Vogue and other fashion magazines.

As Syria’s conflict worsened, the first lady became a target of contempt for many opposition supporters who saw her as whitewashing atrocities carried out by the government.

The Assads have been married for 18 years and have three children, Hafez, Zein and Karim. – AP