Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad nearly passed out while delivering a speech to newly-elected members of the country’s parliament in a meeting on August 12.
The meeting was set to be held under the dome of Syria’s People’s Assembly as usual. Nevertheless, the meeting was exceptionally held at the People’s Palace due to safety measures to confront the coronavirus.
According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, al-Assad suffered a slight, sudden drop in blood pressure that interrupted his speech for a few minutes.
In the speech footage al-Assad appeared to be disoriented before apologizing and getting off the stage to take a seat. The edited footage showed al-Assad returning a few minutes later in a seemingly good shape.
“Doctors are the worst patients, the truth is, I did not had any food since yesterday’s afternoon … I eat sugar and salt,” al-Assad, an eye doctor, told his MPs after returning.
In his speech, al-Assad touched on several issues, including sanctions on Syria, the coronavirus pandemic, the war on corruption as well as the need of economic and political reforms in the war-torn country.
Al-Assad said the economical war on Syria started when the U.S. had failed to subdue the country through other political and military means.
“whenever terrorists fail in their missions, there are an escalation, one time they go to the Security Council, another time they escalating in the chemical issue or they bomb our forces, and after the liberation of the west of Aleppo and the south of Idlib, the title was economic aggression to weaken the achievements of our forces’ victories, making them pale and without meaning for the Syrian people,” al-Assad said.
The Syrian President also accused the U.S. and Israel of supporting ISIS remnants in central Syria militarily and even financially.
“The US needs terrorists in the region, on top, Daesh, and it wanted from Caesar Act to express its support to the terrorists,” the President said, adding: “Israeli aggression on Deir Ezzor came to facilitate the movement of Daesh terrorists.”
Al-Assad concluded his speech by vowing, once again, to liberate all Syrian lands, including the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The Syrian President also threatened Turkish forces that occupy parts of northern and northeastern Syria, saying there is no difference between a “local or imported terrorist, a Zionist soldier, Turkish or American one, all of them are enemies on our territory.”
After his speech, al-Assad’s health quickly became the go-for subject for Syrian opposition outlets, which attempted to capitalize on the issue.
The official Syrian acknowledgment of al-Assad’s health issue indicates show that Damascus is not following the same high-level of secrecy as other regimes in the Middle East. In 2018, Damascus announced that al-Assad’s wife, Asma, is being treated for early stage breast cancer. She has fully recovered since then.