Bashar al-Assad (11 September, 1965) is the current president of Syria. As a member of the Ba'ath Party of Syria though in his reign some limited free market reforms were implemented. In 2011, the Arab Spring led to widespread protests in his country, which turned into the Syrian Civil War, in which more than 220,000 deaths have taken place.
The Christians in Syria were much more free before Assad took power, when Protestant Christian Fares al-Khouri was elected prime minister of Syria in 1954. Under Assad Christians are legally banned from becoming the head of state. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, over 60 percent of all churches in Syria that have been destroyed during the war have been by the Assad regime.
After Assad allegedly used chemical weapons on his people, President Trump ordered a one-time airstrike against a Syrian air base, firing 60 cruise missiles at it on April 6, 2017. This was the first direct military action the U.S. took against the Assad regime. Trump stood by the decision, calling Bashar Assad a “butcher” and saying: “I have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing.”
Under al-Assad, Syria maintains a close alliance with theocratic Iran, despite his more secular form of governance. Like his father Hafez al-Assad, his relation with Saddam Hussein's Iraq was sour and tense, and after Operation Iraqi Freedom he established good relations with the new Iraqi government.
President al-Assad believes in Shia Islam in its Alawite variant (which is seen by some Muslims as a heretical sect), and Syrian Alawite elites are his base of support. He is married to Asma al-Assad, a former investment banker educated in Britain.
His elder brother, Basil, was killed in a car accident in 1994.
- Yamin, Bahnan / Moubayed, Samira / Barq, Mirna and Stifto, George (May 11, 2017). Don't be fooled: Assad is no friend of Syria's Christian minorities. The Hill
- Griffin, Jennifer; Tomlinson, Lucas (April 7, 2017). US missiles target Syria airfield in response to chemical weapons attack. Fox News. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- Ackerman, Spencer; Pilkington, Ed; Jacobs, Ben; Borger, Julian (April 7, 2017). Syria missile strikes: US launches first direct military action against Assad. The Guardian. Retrieved April 7, 2017.