Cairo: Syrian President Bashar Al Assad on Wednesday had to stop a speech that he was giving to parliament in Damascus after he suffered a drop in blood pressure. He sat down for a minute before briefly leaving.
“I haven’t eaten since noon yesterday and this caused a drop in pressure,” he said as he returned to resume his speech marking the inauguration of the newly elected parliament.
The Syrian presidency said that Al Assad had suffered a minor drop in blood pressure and had to stop his speech for a few minutes. “The president returned and resumed his address in a normal manner,” the presidency added in a terse statement on Instigram.
Al Assad’s speech was later broadcast on state-run media.
It was the first time a public statement was issued about the health of Al Assad, 54, who has been governing Syria since 2000.
Al Assad, who studied ophthalmology in Britain, took power in Syria after his long-governing father Hafez died in 2000. Syria has been in the grip of a devastating civil war since 2011.