Bashar al-Assad

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Bashar al-Assad
بشار حافظ الأسد
Bashar al-Assad (2018-05-17) 03.jpg
Bashar al-Assad in 2018.
President of Syria
Assumed office
17 July 2000
Prime Minister
Vice President
Preceded by Abdul Halim Khaddam (Acting)
Regional Secretary of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
Assumed office
24 June 2000
Deputy
Leader Abdullah al-Ahmar
Preceded by Hafez al-Assad
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
Assumed office
21 June 2000
Personal details
Born Bashar Hafez al-Assad
(1965-09-11) 11 September 1965 (age 53)
Damascus, Syria
Political party Ba'ath Party
Other political
affiliations
National Progressive Front
Spouse(s) Asma al-Akhras
Children Hafez
Zein
Karim
Alma mater Damascus University
Religion Alawite
Website The President
Military service
Allegiance  Syria
Service/branch Syrian Armed Forces
Years of service 1988–
Rank Syria-Mushir.jpg Marshal
Unit Republican Guard
Presently serving as commander-in-chief
Battles/wars Syrian civil war (2011–)

Bashar al-Assad (born 11 September 1965) is the president of Syria and the head of the Ba'ath Party in Syria. Assad has held these positions since the death of his father Hafez al-Assad (1930-2000), who had ruled Syria since 1971.[1]

Bashar al-Assad was elected in 2000, and re-elected in 2007. He was unopposed each time because no-one else was allowed to stand against him.[2][3]

Early life[change | change source]

Assad was born on 11 September 1965 in Damascus, Syria to Hafez al-Assad and Anisa Makhlouf. He had two brothers, Bassel al-Assad and Shabbih Maher al-Assad, and one sister, Bushra al-Assad. Bashar was quiet and reserved and was not interested in politics or the military.[4]

Education[change | change source]

Assad studied medicine at the University of Damascus and graduated in 1988.[5] He then studied ophthalmology at a military hospital, and in 1992 studied at the Western Eye Hospital in London.[5]

His father wanted Assad's elder brother Bassel to succeed him as leader of Syria.[5] Bassel died in a car accident in 1994, and Assad returned home to Syria.

Early career[change | change source]

He went to a military academy at Homs, and became a colonel after only five years. He worked as an adviser to his father.

Presidency[change | change source]

When his father died, the government changed the constitution. Under Syrian law the president had to be at least 40 years old. With the law changed, Assad was able to be elected President of Syria in June 2000.[5] He was also made commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and leader of the Ba'ath Party which has ruled Syria since 1961.[5]

The Syrian government signed the Paris Climate Agreement in November 2017.[6]

Syrian Civil War[change | change source]

Large protests began in January 2011. The protesters wanted political reforms, an end to the state of emergency (which had been in place since 1963), and the return of civil rights. The protests in March were the largest to take place, and the government used violence against the protestors.[7]

The United States placed sanctions against the Assad government in April 2011.[8] Canada and the European Union also placed sanctions against the government in May 2011.[9][10]

In June 2011, Assad promised reform, a new parliarmentary election, and more freedoms. He also urged refugees to return to Syria.[11]

In January 2012, Reuters claimed that over 5,000 civilians and protesters (including militants) had been killed by the Syrian army, security agents and militia, while 1,100 people had been killed by terrorists.[12]

In January 2012, Assad gave a speech in which he claimed that the uprising was being engineered by foreign countries. He said that a new referendum could be held in March.[13]

The referendum was held in February 2012. The referendum would change the term limits of future Syrian presidents. It passed with 90% support. The U.S. and Turkey did not accept the results. The European Union pushed new sanctions on the government.[14]

In June 2012, the ICRC announced that Syria was in a civil war.[15] The national death toll on both sides reached 20,000.[16]

In 2014 and 2015, he began to lose some support from the Alawite community. This was because an unequal number of soldiers killed in the conflict were Alawites.[17]

Assad with Vladimir Putin.

In September 2015, Russia got involved in the Syrian Civil War. President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that Russia's goal in Syria is to "stabilis[e] the legitimate power in Syria and creat[e] the conditions for political compromise."[18] In November 2015, Assad said that the two months of Russian intervention had accomplished more than the U.S.-led coalition had done in a year.[19]

In December 2016, government forces recovered most of Aleppo from rebel forces.[20]

After the election of Donald Trump, the U.S. no longer wished to remove Assad from power.[21] That changed after the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack.[22] Donald Trump ordered missile strikes to hit a Syrian airbase. Assad responded by saying that the United States's behaviour was an "unjust and arrogant aggression." He also said that the Syrian army had given up all its chemical weapons in 2013. He claimed that the chemical attack was a lie and was used to justify a U.S. airstrike.[23]

As of March 2018, between 350,000 and 511,000 people have been killed in the civil war.[24]

Personal life[change | change source]

Assad is married to Asma al-Akhras. Together, they have three children; Hafez, Jr., Zein, and Karim al-Assad.

Influenced by his western education and urban upbringing, Bashar initially seemed eager to implement a cultural revolution in Syria.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Bashar al-Assad (president of Syria) --". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  2. "Syrians Vote For Assad in Uncontested Referendum". The Washington Post. 28 May 2007.
  3. "Syria's Assad wins another term". BBC News. 29 May 2007.
  4. Bar, Shmuel (2006). Bashar's Syria: The Regime and its Strategic Worldview (PDF) (Report). The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy Institute for Policy and Strategy. p. 16 & 379. doi:10.1080/01495930601105412. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Bashar al-Assad Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". biography.com. 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  6. "Syria Joins Paris Climate Accord, Leaving Only U.S. Opposed".
  7. "Daraa: The spark that lit the Syrian flame". CNN. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  8. "Administration Takes Additional Steps to Hold the Government of Syria Accountable for Violent Repression Against the Syrian People". United States Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 18 May 2011. Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order (E.O. 13573) imposing sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and six other senior officials of the Government of Syria in an effort to increase pressure on the Government of Syria to end its use of violence against its people and to begin a transition to a democratic system that protects the rights of the Syrian people.
  9. "EU imposes sanctions on President Assad". BBC News. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  10. "Canada imposes sanctions on Syrian leaders". BBC News. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  11. "Speech of H.E. President Bashar al-Assad at Damascus University on the situation in Syria". Syrian Arab News Agency. 21 June 2011. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012.
  12. Khaled Yacoub Oweis (13 December 2011). "Syria death toll hits 5,000 as insurgency spreads". Reuters.
  13. "Syria's Assad blames 'foreign conspiracy'". BBC News. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  14. Martin Chulov in Beirut (27 February 2012). "Syria claims 90% of voters backed reforms in referendum". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  15. "Syria in civil war, Red Cross says". BBC News. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  16. "Syrian death toll tops 19,000, say activists". The Guardian. London. 22 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  17. Hadid, Diaa (1 November 2014). "Syria's Alawites Pay Heavy Price as They Bury Sons". Associated Press. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  18. "Путин назвал основную задачу российских военных в Сирии". Interfax. 11 October 2015.(Russian)
  19. "ВКС РФ за два месяца добились большего прогресса в Сирии, чем альянс США за год" [Russian air force have in two months achieved more progress in Syria that the U.S. alliance in a year]. Kommersant. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015. (Russian)
  20. Staff writer(s) (17 December 2016). "Evacuation agreement reached in Aleppo, rebel group says". Fox 6 Now. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  21. "U.S. priority on Syria no longer focused on 'getting Assad out': Haley". Reuters. 30 March 2017.
  22. Treene, Alayna (6 April 2017). "Tillerson: U.S. will lead coalition to oust Assad".
  23. "Syria's Assad says Idlib chemical attack 'fabrication': AFP interview". Reuters. 13 April 2017.

Other websites[change | change source]

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