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Syria first lady diagnosed with leukaemia

By AFP

May 21, 2024 02:20 PM


Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's British-born wife Asma, who recovered from breast cancer in 2019, has been diagnosed with leukaemia, the president's office said on Tuesday.

"First Lady Asma al-Assad has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia," an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells involved in battling infection, it said in a statement.

She will undergo a "specialised treatment protocol" that requires social distancing to avoid infection, the statement said, adding that she will "temporarily withdraw from all direct engagements as part of her treatment plan".

In 2019, Syria's first lady had said she was "totally" free of breast cancer after battling the disease for a year.

Born in Britain in 1975, the former investment banker styled herself as a progressive rights advocate and the modern side of the Assad dynasty before the eruption of the country's brutal civil war in 2011.

The first lady was even hailed as "A Rose in the Desert" in a now infamous cover story in US magazine Vogue before plaudits turned to condemnation over her support for her husband's crushing of pro-democracy protests.

She founded the Syria Trust for Development charity, headquartered in Damascus, which is one of the rare such organisations allowed to work in government-held areas.

The first lady, whose father is a cardiologist and whose mother is a diplomat, has two sons and a daughter with Assad.


AFP


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