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Syria president Bashar al-Assad and his wife test positive for Covid

Borzou Daragahi
·2-min read
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma wearing face masks during the pandemic in November (SANA/AFP via Getty Images)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma wearing face masks during the pandemic in November (SANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma have both tested positive for coronavirus, his office said in a statement posted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (Sana).

Both had shown mild symptoms for Covid-19 before they were given a test to confirm infection, the statement said.

Assad, 55, was described as being in “good health and a stable condition”. He and his wife will spend two to three weeks at home in isolation before returning to work, the president’s office said.

The announcement comes just days before the 10-year anniversary of the uprising against the Assad regime and his rule, which began after his enforcers abducted and tortured a group of children accused of posting anti-government graffiti in the southern city of Daraa.

The ensuing public response to the torture of the children prompted a massive uprising against the Assad family’s decades-long dictatorship.

As the regime of Mr Assad clung to power, the conflict eventually descended into a civil war drawing in major regional and international powers, as well as armed jihadi groups, including Isis.

Mr Assad and his deputies have been accused of perpetrating the worst crimes against humanity of the 21st century, including the deliberate targeting of hospitals in opposition-held areas now struggling to cope with a flood of coronavirus patients.

Over the years, Mr Assad and his loyalists have repeatedly tried to win sympathy from the international conflict and avoid accountability for actions, despite a “large and growing body of evidence”, according to the US, that the regime has used chemical weapons against its own civilians.

The statement posted to Sana said the Assads “wish safety and well-being for all Syrians and all the peoples of the world from this virus,” calling on Syrians to follow health protocols.

The Assads provided no proof that they had contracted Covid.

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