|Assumed office |
17 July 2000
|Prime Minister||Muhammad Mustafa Mero|
Muhammad Naji al-Otari
|Vice President||Farouk al-Sharaa|
|Preceded by||Abdul Halim Khaddam (interim)|
|Born||11 September 1965 |
Dr Bashar al-Assad (Arabic: بشار الأسد, Baššār al-Asad) (born 11 September 1965) is the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, Regional Secretary of the Baath Party, and the son of former President Hafez al-Assad. This page lists presidents and other Heads of State of Syria. Events 180 - Twelve inhabitants of Scillium in North Africa are executed for being Christians 2000 ( MM) was a Leap year that started on Saturday of the Common Era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Muhammad Mustafa Mero ( Arabic:محمد مصطفى ميرو (born 1941 was the Prime Minister of Syria from March 13 2000 until Muhammad Naji al-Otari ( محمد ناجي عطري also Etri, Itri and Otri) (born 1944 is the current prime minister of Syria Farouk al-Sharaa (فاروق الشرع also known as Farouq al-Sharaa (born 10 December, 1938) is a Syrian politician and diplomat Najah Al-Attar ( Arabic: ' نجاح العطار'; born 1933 is a current Vice President of Syria (since 2006 Abdul Halim Khaddam (عبد الحليم خدام born 15 September, 1932 in Baniyas) is a Syrian politician and former Vice President of Syria Events 9 - The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ends 506 - The Bishops of Visigothic Gaul Year 1965 ( MCMLXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. Damascus ( دمشق,, also commonly known as الشام ash-Shām) is the capital and largest city of Syria. Syria ( سوريّة or) officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic ar الجمهورية العربية السورية The Arab Socialist Ba'th Party (also spelled Baath or Ba'ath; Arabic: حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي was founded in Damascus Asma Fawaz Akhras ( أسماء الأخرس) also known after her husband's family name as Asma Al-Assad, is the First Lady of Syria. For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language Events 9 - The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ends 506 - The Bishops of Visigothic Gaul Year 1965 ( MCMLXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. This page lists presidents and other Heads of State of Syria. Syria ( سوريّة or) officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic ar الجمهورية العربية السورية The Arab Socialist Ba'th Party (also spelled Baath or Ba'ath; Arabic: حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي was founded in Damascus Hafez al-Assad (حافظ الأسد) ( October 6, 1930 &ndash June 10, 2000) was president of Syria, for three
The Baath Party remains in control of the parliament, and is constitutionally the "leading party" of the state. Until he became President, Bashar al-Assad was not greatly involved in Syrian politics; his only political role was as head of the Syrian Computer Society, which was mainly in charge of introducing the Internet to Syria in 2001.
Al-Assad was confirmed as President by an unopposed referendum in 2001. He was expected to bring a more liberal approach to the leadership than his father. In an interview he stated that he saw democracy in Syria as 'a tool to a better life' but then argued that it would take time for democracy to come about and that it could not be rushed . At best, politically and economically, Syria life has changed only slightly since 2000. Immediately after he took office a reform movement made cautious advances during the so-called Damascus Spring, and al-Assad seemed to accept this, shutting down the Mezze prison and releasing hundreds of political prisoners. The Damascus Spring was a period of intense political and social debate in Syria which started after the death of President Hafiz al-Asad in June 2000 and continued The Damascus Spring, however, ground to an abrupt halt as security crackdowns commenced again within the year.
Although al-Assad rules with a softer touch than his father, political freedoms are still extremely curtailed. He resembles his father in many ways but is more subtle in reducing opposition. In an interview conducted with the ABC News  he stated: "We don't have such [things as] political prisoners," yet The New York Times reported the arrest of 30 political prisoners in Syria as recently as December 2007 .
Economic liberalization in Syria has been limited with industry still heavily state-controlled. Changes to the Syrian economy have included the introduction of private banking and the encouragement of foreign involvement, most notably in the oil sector. The need for a diversification of the economy has been pressed for by some  as it has been predicted that Syria will change from exporting to having to import oil by 2015. The reliance upon oil is reflected by manufacturing exports representing only 3. 1 per cent of Syria’s GDP . These issues are especially relevant as Syria’s population is predicted to more than double to over 34 million by 2050 . There have been mild economic sanctions (the Syria Accountability Act) applied by the United States which further complicate the situation. Of major importance are the negotiations for a free trade association agreement with the European Union.
Al-Assad has failed to drastically modernize or liberalize the Syrian public sector. According to Acram al-Bouni, a Syrian journalist, he has used the reliance of a vast amount of the population, al-Bouni estimates 50%, upon employment by the state as a means to maintain power. With a large number of people on the state payroll it is less likely resistance movements will form as income from their employment is, “the only thing they have…They fear change” .
Despite gaining re-election in 2007, al-Assad’s position has been considered by some to have been weakened by the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon following the ‘Cedar Revolution’ in 2005. There has also been pressure from the US concerning claims that Syria is linked to ‘terrorist’ networks - an argument fact that can only be exacerbated by official Syrian condemnation of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah military leader in Damascus on February 12th 2008. The Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdul-Majeed stated that, "Syria, which condemns this cowardly terrorist act, expresses condolences to the martyr family and to the Lebanese people” .
Al-Assad still holds a vast amount of power within Syria and no significant political changes seem forthcoming in the immediate future. Jouejati  argues that economic reforms have the potential to lead to political reforms. How the President deals with the expected financial crisis as oil revenues decrease could be key to maintaining his position of power.
The United States, European Union, the March 14 Alliance, Israel, and France accuse Assad of logistically supporting militant groups aimed at Israel and any opposing member to his regime. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in The March 14 Alliance ( تحالف 14 آذار) or M14, named after the date of the Cedar Revolution, is a coalition of Anti-Syrian political For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Israel topics. This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. These include most political parties other than Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. Hezbollah (حزب الله, literally " party of God " is a Shi'a Islamic political and Paramilitary organisation Ḥamas (ar حركة حماس acronym ar حركة المقاومة The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (حركة الجهاد الإسلامي في فلسطين - Harakat al-Jihād al-Islāmi fi Filastīn 
Assad opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, despite a long-standing animosity between the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, a decision that reflected the will of the majority of his people in his country. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, from March 20 to May 1 2003 was spearheaded by the United States, backed by British forces and smaller contingents from Australia For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Iraq topics. Assad used Syria's seat in one of rotating positions on the United Nations Security Council to try and prevent the invasion of Iraq. The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the accusation of Syrian involvement, and support for anti-Israeli groups, helped precipitate a crisis in relations with the United States. This article is about the government position For other uses see Prime Minister (disambiguation. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the
Assad was criticized for Syria's presence in Lebanon (which ended in 2005), and the US put Syria under sanctions partly because of this. Lebanon (ˈlɛbənɒn Arabic: ar لبنان Lubnān) officially the Republic of Lebanon or Lebanese Republic (ar الجمهورية اللبنانية He threatened many members of the Lebanese parliament in order to enforce the illegal accession of the pro-Syrian General Émile Lahoud to the Lebanese presidency in 1998. General Émile Jamil Lahoud ( اميل لحود; born 12 January 1936 is a former President of Lebanon.
In the Arab world, Bashar has mended relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestine Liberation Organization ( PLO) (منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية or Munazzamat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniyyah) is a political and paramilitary But relations with many Arab states, in particular Saudi Arabia, have been deteriorating. This is in part due to Assad's continued intervention in Lebanon, and in part due to his alliance with Iran.
However, during the Pope John Paul II's funeral in 2005 Assad shook hand of Israeli president Moshe Katsav. Pope Moshe Katsav (משה קצב born 5 December 1945) is a former President of Israel and member of the Knesset.
The 2005 Lebanon crises began with the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, which has been blamed on Syria in the media. Lebanon (ˈlɛbənɒn Arabic: ar لبنان Lubnān) officially the Republic of Lebanon or Lebanese Republic (ar الجمهورية اللبنانية Assad has questioned the basis of such criticism. The main basis of the accusation is that the assassination removed an anti-Syrian political figure in an attempt to maintain influence. However, Assad argued that Syria's previously gradual withdrawal troops from Lebanon beginning in 2000, was precipitated as a result of the event.  Syria remains influential in Lebanon, however, and economic activity is strongly interdependent.
Assad has repeatedly condemned the Hariri assassination. He strongly denies any Syrian involvement and has promised to extradite or punish anyone found guilty of participating in the conspiracy to kill Hariri. Assad has refused to be questioned himself or for other high-ranking Syrian officials to be questioned by the special UN prosecutor in connection to Hariri's murder. In summation, the Hariri affair has proved the most pressing crisis for the Syrian government in decades, possibly since Hafez al-Assad seized power.
In a speech about the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, on August 15, 2006, Bashar al-Assad said that Israel had suffered a defeat in that war and that Hezbollah had "hoisted the banner of victory" and hailed its actions as a "successful resistance" - a view incidentally that was largely accepted by media and regional analysts. Background See also Israel-Lebanon conflict The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO had engaged in cross-border attacks from Southern Lebanon Events 778 - The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, at which Roland is killed Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. [] He called Israel an "enemy," with whom no peace could be achieved as long as they and their allies (especially the U. S. ) support the practice of preemptive war - a doctrine that is tantamount to an act of aggression and illegal under international law. [] In the same speech, he also called Arab leaders that have criticized Hezbollah "half-men. "
In April, 2008, Assad told a Qatari newspaper that Syria and Israel had been discussing a peace treaty for a year, with Turkey as a go-between. Qatar ( قطر; ˈqɑtˁɑr local pronunciation giṭar officially the State of Qatar (Arabic دولة قطر transliterated Turkey (Türkiye known officially as the Republic of Turkey ( is a Eurasian Country that stretches This was confirmed in May, 2008, by a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Ehud Olmert (אהוד אולמרט ɛˈhud ˈolmeʁt born September 30, 1945) is the 12th and current Prime Minister of Israel and the former leader As well as a peace treaty, the future of the Golan Heights is being discussed. Borders of Israel The Golan Heights ( الجولان al-Jawlān, הגולן ha-Golan) is a strategic Plateau and mountainous Assad was quoted in the The Guardian as telling the Qatari paper:
Standing about 189 cm (6 ft 2 in), Assad has a distinct physical build. He speaks English from an intermediate to an advanced level and also speaks casual conversational French, having studied at the Franco-Arab al-Hurriyah school in Damascus, before going on to medical school at the University of Damascus Faculty of Medicine. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people Damascus ( دمشق,, also commonly known as الشام ash-Shām) is the capital and largest city of Syria. Medical education A medical school or faculty of medicine is a Tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches Medicine The University of Damascus ( جامعة دمشق, Jāmi‘atu Dimashq) is the largest University in He completed his ophthalmology residency training in the Military Hospital of Latakia and subsequently went on to get subspecialty training in ophthalmology at the Western Eye Hospital in London. Ophthalmology is the branch of Medicine which deals with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways including the Eye, Brain Residency is a stage of graduate medical training. A resident physician or resident is a person who has received a Medical degree ( MD The Western Eye Hospital (WEH includes the only 24-hour Emergency Ophthalmology Department in West London and treats a wide range of eye conditions from Glaucoma London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom.  He could not finish his formal training due to the unexpected death of his brother. The entire duration of his stay in UK did not exceed 18 months, so claims that he was educated in the West are unfounded. He is married to Asma (Emma) Assad, nee Akhras, a Syrian Sunni Muslim from Acton (west London) whom he met in the United Kingdom, where she was born and raised. Asma Fawaz Akhras ( أسماء الأخرس) also known after her husband's family name as Asma Al-Assad, is the First Lady of Syria. Acton is a place in west London, England situated west of Charing Cross. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located 
The Assad family are members of the minority Alawite sect, and members of that group have been prominent in the governmental hierarchy and army since 1963 when the Baath Party first came to power. For the Alaouite dynasty of Morocco see Alaouite Dynasty, for the former state now in Yemen see Alawi (sheikhdom The Alawites In the Sociology of religion a sect is generally a smaller religious or political group that has broken off from a larger group for example from a The Arab Socialist Ba'th Party (also spelled Baath or Ba'ath; Arabic: حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي was founded in Damascus Their origins are to be found in the Latakia region of north-west Syria. Latakia or Latakiyah (اللاذقية Al-Ladhiqiyah, Λαοδικεία transliterated as Laodicea, Laodikeia or Laodiceia, Bashar's family is originally from Qardaha, just east of Latakia. Qardaha (قرداحة is a city in northwestern Syria, in the mountains overlooking the coastal town of Latakia.
Family connections are presently an important part of Syrian politics. Several close family members of Hafez al-Assad have held positions within the government since his rise to power, most notably of course Bashar himself. Most of the al-Assad and Makhlouf families have also grown tremendously wealthy, and parts of that fortune have reached their Alawite tribe in Qardaha and its surroundings. For the Alaouite dynasty of Morocco see Alaouite Dynasty, for the former state now in Yemen see Alawi (sheikhdom The Alawites Qardaha (قرداحة is a city in northwestern Syria, in the mountains overlooking the coastal town of Latakia. The following is a list of some of Bashar's most prominent relatives:
|President of Syria|
|NAME||Assad, Bashar al-|
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||بشار الأس (Arabic); Bašār al-Asad (strict transliteration)|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||Syrian president|
|DATE OF BIRTH||September 11, 1965|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Damascus, Syria|
|DATE OF DEATH||living|
|PLACE OF DEATH|