Bashar al-Assad nearly faints during address to Syrian parliament
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad interrupted a speech before parliament after starting to feel faint — telling lawmakers he needed to “sit down for a minute.”
The moment occurred when the 54-year-old Ba’ath Party leader was about 30 minutes into his remarks Wednesday.
Assad began to appear weak and stopped his speech, in which he rebuked US sanctions on Syria, on two occasions to drink water.
A short time later, the Syrian ruler — who is also a trained doctor — said, “My blood pressure has dropped and I need to drink water.”
“I need to sit for a minute, if you don’t mind, one minute only,” he added moments later.
Assad then left the hall where he was delivering his remarks and returned an unclear amount of time later to applause from members of parliament.
Once back at the podium, Assad joked that “doctors are the worst patients.”
He went on to explain that he had not eaten since Tuesday afternoon.
“I have no sugar or salt and this happens,” he remarked.
A spokesperson for Assad’s office said Wednesday that the speech was halted for “several minutes” as a result of Assad suffering a “mild” case of low blood pressure. They added that he continued the speech without issue after the incident.
Assad is not known to have any underlying health conditions.
He delivered his remarks as members of parliament wore masks and maintained social distancing, sitting six feet apart from one another in a convention hall-style space.
Coronavirus infections have been on the rise in the country, despite overall confirmed case and death numbers remaining low.