Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been in the news a lot lately for his controversial decisions. However, despite his perpetual presence in the media, there are still some things that most people do not know about him. Here, we present our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about Bashar al-Assad. Check out part one below, and stay tuned for part two, coming soon!
Number Fifteen: He Was Born on September 11. Bashar is now 50 years old, and he was born in Damascus. He is one of four children.
Number Fourteen: He Was Chosen by His Father. Bashar has been president of Syria since 2000, and he was chosen by his father, Hafez al-Assad. Hafez ran Syria for 30 years. The last name “al-Assad” means “the lion” in Arabic.
Number Thirteen: He Studied Ophthalmology. Bashar studied medicine at Damascus University, and he began his post-graduate work in ophthalmology at the U.K.’s Western Eye Hospital. He also worked as an army doctor for some time.
Number Twelve: He Met His Wife in Britain. Bashar met his wife when he was studying in Britain. His wife’s name is Asma, and she is British but also of Syrian descent. She grew up in London and also worked in New York as an investment banker. The two got married in 2000.
Number Eleven: He Currently Controls 25 Percent of Syrian Territory. And that’s very important to him. Bashar is in control of territory that contains large population centers, and he depends on support from countries abroad, like Russia.
Number Ten: He Is the Lesser of Two Evils. Though Bashar is not highly regarded, he is admittedly better than the organization controlling more than 50 percent of other Syrian territories – ISIS.
Number Nine: He Probably Won’t Be Able to Recover. Syria is in a bad way right now. Since just 2011, Syria’s economy has shrunk by more than 50 percent, and the Syrian pound has lost a hefty 80 percent of its value against the dollar. More than 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives as a result of the civil war in Syria, and four million Syrians have left the country. There is only so much one person can do.