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Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad has leukemia, presidency says

1 min

Syria's first lady, Asma al-Assad, has been diagnosed with leukemia, the Syrian presidency said on Tuesday, almost five years after she announced she had fully recovered from breast cancer.

Asma Assad, wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syria's first lady, Asma al-Assad, has been diagnosed with leukemia, the Syrian presidency said on Tuesday, almost five years after she announced she had fully recovered from breast cancer.

The statement said Asma, 48, would undergo a special treatment protocol that would require her to isolate, and that she would step away from public engagements as a result.

In August 2019, Asma said she had fully recovered from breast cancer that she said had been discovered early.

Since Syria plunged into war in 2011, the British-born former investment banker has taken on the public role of leading charity efforts and meeting families of killed soldiers, but has also become hated by the opposition.

She runs the Syria Trust for Development, a large NGO that acts as an umbrella organisation for many of the aid and development operations in Syria.

Last year, she accompanied her husband, President Bashar al-Assad ,on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, her first known official trip abroad with him since 2011. She met Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Emirati president's mother, during a trip seen as a public signal of her growing role in public affairs.

(Reporting by Clauda Tanios and Tala Ramadan in Dubai, and Maya Gebeily in Beirut; editing by Mark Heinrich and Timothy Heritage)

Reporting by Clauda Tanios and Tala Ramadan in Dubai, and Maya Gebeily in Beirut

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