Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and his wife Asma Al Assad visit injured girl Fatmeh Ahmed al-Issa who survived the earthquake, at Tishreen hospital, in the aftermath of an earthquake, in Latakia, Syria February 11, 202 Image Credit: Reuters file photo

Dubai: Syria's first lady, Asma Al Assad, has been diagnosed with leukemia, the Syrian presidency said on Tuesday, almost five years after she announced she had fully recovered from breast cancer.

The statement said Asma, 48, would undergo a special treatment protocol that would require her to isolate, and that she would step away from public engagements as a result.

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In August 2019, Asma said she had fully recovered from breast cancer that she said had been discovered early.

Since Syria plunged into war in 2011, the British-born former investment banker has taken on the public role of leading charity efforts and meeting families of killed soldiers.

She runs the Syria Trust for Development, a large NGO that acts as an umbrella organisation for many of the aid and development operations in Syria.