The wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview aired late Saturday that she was “totally” free of breast cancer after a year of treatment.
“My journey has ended… I totally conquered cancer,” said Asma Assad, sporting a stylish short haircut and a long white dress, in an interview broadcast on state television.
The Syrian presidency announced last August that the 44-year-old first lady had begun treatment for breast cancer.
Since then, photos of her, thin and wearing a headscarf, have regularly been shared on the Syrian presidency’s social media accounts.
When her diagnosis was first announced, some appeared to take satisfaction in the fact that Assad — whose husband has brutally repressed his people in an eight-year-long civil war that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and driven millions from their homes — was ill.
In January, she underwent an operation at a military hospital in Damascus, according to the presidency.
In the interview, she described the “physical exhaustion” and other effects stemming from her treatment.
She praised the support she received from her children, her parents and her “life partner.”
“Of course he was by my side,” she said, referring to Assad.
The first lady, whose father is a cardiologist and whose mother is a diplomat, has two sons and a daughter with Assad.
Born in 1975 in Britain, the former investment banker styled herself as a progressive rights advocate and was seen as the modern side of the Assad dynasty.
The UN has accused the Assad regime of multiple chemical attacks against civilians throughout the course of the war — Asma herself has mainly been silent avoided the public eye for much of Syria’s civil war.
In a rare 2016 English interview she defended her husband, and said she hoped to make her country “stronger and fairer” and to help “empower people.”