|Date and place of birth|| September 11, 1965 (age 55) |
|Parents|| Hafez al-Assad|
|Children|| Hafez al-Assad|
|Highest rank attained||n/a|
|Political party||Ba'ath Party|
|Date of dictatorship||July 17, 2000|
|Wars started||Syrian War|
|Number of deaths attributed||500,000+|
Bashar al-Assad (11 September, 1965) is the current president and Socialist dictator 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 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.”
After the Syrian government again used chemical weapons on its people, President Trump ordered precision missile strikes on certain military installations in the country, in coordination with the French and UK governments on April 13, 2018. According to the Pentagon the following day, the U.S. and its allies launched 105 missiles that successfully hit all three targets and crippled the Syrian chemical weapons program.
In March 2023 Assad granted an extensive interview, wherein he assessed:
|“I believe that World War III is underway but it differs in its form...What I mean is that world wars used to be conventional in the past...The armies of several states were fighting against each other...This is also true when it comes to the current situation, but because of modern weaponry, especially nuclear, it is different from conventional war...That’s why wars are now moving toward becoming proxy wars...That’s why [Ukrainian dictator] Zelensky is now fighting a war on behalf of the West, using, of course, its army of Nazis...The same goes for terrorists, they are the armies operating on behalf of the West in Syria and other regions”.|
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.
Al-Assad is very anti-American. Neither George W. Bush nor Barack Hussein Obama have met with him and both administrations have accused him, rightfully, of harboring terrorist organizations such as Hamas (which had its headquarters in Damascus) and Hezbollah. Assad was accused by many of playing a role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. Syria is also responsible for allowing foreign terrorist fighters to enter Iraq through their border and attack American troops. He invited terrorists of the Hezbollah to stay in Syria. Assad is also hostile to Israel and Zionism and refuses to recognize the country's right to exist. In 2016 Assad accused Israel of being ‘al-Qaeda’s air force’.
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.
- Multiple references:
- Joyce, Kathleen (April 14, 2018). US strikes Syria after suspected chemical attack by Assad regime. Fox News. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Spiering, Charlie (April 13, 2018). Donald Trump Orders Missile Strikes on Syria in Response to ‘Crimes of a Monster’. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Boyer, Dave; Boylan, Dan (April 13, 2018). U.S., allies launch missile attack on Syria in retaliation for using chemical weapons on civilians. The Washington Times. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Multiple references:
- Weber, Joseph (April 14, 2018). Pentagon: US, allies launched 105 missiles in Syria, 'successfully' hit all three targets. Fox News. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Stewart, Phil; Perry, Tom (April 14, 2018). U.S. says air strikes cripple Syria chemical weapons program. Reuters. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Boylan, Dan (April 14, 2018). Airstrikes ‘hit the heart’ of Syria’s chemical-weapons program, set it back ‘for years’: Pentagon. The Washington Times. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Mitchell, Ellen (April 14, 2018). Pentagon claims successful strike on all targets in Syria. The Hill. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Gamio, Lazaro (April 14, 2018). Map: Where the airstrikes hit in Syria. Axios. Retrieved April 18, 2018.