The Syrian presidency released a statement on Monday confirming that President Bashar Al-Assad and his wife, Asma, have both tested positive for the coronavirus.
The statement, published on social media, said that the two had felt “mild symptoms.” It went on to say, “Both are in good health and in a stable condition, and they will continue to work during their home quarantine period that will last two or three weeks.”
Assad has held onto his rule in Syria since 2000 and comes from a family that has been in power for fifty years, according to NBC News. While the country is set to have another presidential election in May of this year, most assume that Assad will win for the fourth time in a row. In 2014, he was elected to the presidency with 88.7% of the vote. As reported by Reuters, most of Assad’s opponents saw the “election as a charade,” since the country was in the middle of a civil war. that was largely sparked from Syrian citizens protesting against Assad’s control.
Assad and his military have been accused of using chemical weapons against Syrian citizens. Recent developments have taken place to hold Assad and his top officials accountable for potential war crimes.
As reported by The Daily Wire last week,
Representatives of victims of the 2013 chemical attacks in Syria have officially filed a criminal complaint in France aimed at top Syrian officials who they say are responsible for the use of chemical weapons on their own citizens.
Various investigations and actions have been ongoing in multiple countries for a while. Since Russia and China have used their vetoes to prevent the United Nations Security Council from bringing Syria to the International Criminal Court, countries have been using other legal methods in order to bring charges against Syrian government officials.
Next week marks the tenth year of war in Syria — a war that began as people protested against military enforcement in conjunction with the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed due to the violence and millions of people have been displaced.
In addition to the deaths the country has experienced from war, the coronavirus has affected Syria, as well. According to the AP, the country “has recorded nearly 16,000 virus cases in government-held parts of the country, including 1,063 deaths. But the numbers are believed to be much higher with limited amounts of PCR tests being done, particularly in areas of northern Syria outside government control.”
While Syria began a rollout of vaccines last week, there is little information about the effort and members of the media are not being given access to the methods being used. The health minister said that the Syrian government received the vaccine doses “from a friendly country, which he declined to name,” as reported by the AP.
The vaccine rollout was announced a few days after world news and media reports in Israel stated that Israel had paid Russia $1.2 million to give coronavirus vaccines to the Syrian government.
According to AP reporting, “It was reportedly part of a deal that secured the release of an Israeli woman held in Damascus. The terms of the clandestine trade-off negotiated by Moscow remained murky. Damascus denied it happened and Russia had no comment.”
It is not clear whether or not Assad and members of his family have received the vaccine.