Syria: State television reports weakness of Bashar al-Assad

Syria’s head of state Bashar al-Assad had to interrupt a speech to deputies for several minutes, state radio and the presidential office reported. Low blood pressure is said to have been the reason.

Syria’s head of state Bashar al-Assad, who has been defending his power for more than nine years in a civil war against numerous rebel groups, apparently suffered a fit of weakness during a speech to the newly composed parliament in Damascus.

Syrian state television reported on Wednesday afternoon that Assad had to interrupt his speech for a few minutes due to “low blood pressure”. The parliament in Syria does not consist of democratically elected representatives, but exclusively of the faithful of the ruler. There were no live pictures of the speech, it was recorded and will be broadcast on state television in the evening, and the official Twitter channel of the presidency also broadcast the news of the weakness, along with a photo that Assad apparently showed during his speech to the parliamentarians.

Assad has been waging war against his own people since 2011. He is presumably only in power because Russia entered the war in 2015 and has kept the regime militarily alive since then. Russia helped the Assad army to bomb its way into the numerous rebel areas with fighter planes and partly with mercenary troops.

Assad’s soldiers repeatedly and demonstrably used chemical warfare agents in rebel areas, and the air force dropped so-called barrel bombs from helicopters over residential areas. Tens of thousands dead, more than five million fleeingTens of thousands of people died, 5.5 million fled. More than three million people saved themselves from the war in Turkey, hundreds of thousands fled to the neighbouring countries Jordan and Lebanon.

The Syrian capital is currently suffering greatly from the Covid 19 pandemic. Beyond “low blood pressure”, government sources did not provide any information on Assad’s health. His father, dictator Hafiz al-Assad, suffered a heart attack at a comparatively young age. He died in 2000 at the age of 69, since when his second oldest son Bashar has been in power. The son continued his father’s regime of terror; thousands of opponents of the government have been imprisoned or murdered in the past decades under the rule of the Assad family.

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