Rumours circulate that Syria’s President Assad has suffered a stroke after state media release a denial that he is seriously ill

Monday, January 30, 2017
By Paul Martin

President Bashar al-Assad, 51, has been battling rebels and ISIS since 2011
His forces, backed by Russia, recaptured Aleppo from the rebels in November
But several Middle Eastern newspapers have been speculating about his health
The Syrian news agency SANA denied it and said he was in ‘excellent health’

30 January 2017

Syria has refuted claims that President Bashar al-Assad has had a stroke and insists he is in ‘excellent health’.

The Lebanese newspaper, al-Mustaqbal, said ‘reliable sources’ had told them Assad, 51, had suffered a cerebral infarction and was being treated in a hospital in Damascus amid high security.

Al-Arabiya said a Saudi newspaper, Okaz, had claimed Assad was suffering from a ‘brain tumour’ and was being treated by a Russian and Syrian medical team.

But Syria’s state news agency SANA quoted the president’s office in Damascus as saying rumours about his health were ‘absolutely incorrect’ and he was working as normal.

Assad’s office said the Syrian people had become ‘immune against such lies’ and made dark insinuations about who was behind the claims.

Russian blogger Navsteva added: ‘Saudi Arabia‚Äôs Al Arabiya spreading rumours Assad suffered a stroke, was shot by his Iranian bodyguard, and is dead.’

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