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Wife of Syria's Assad Says She Is Free of Cancer

Syria's first lady Asma Assad, wife of President Bashar Assad, is seen during an interview aired late Saturday on state TV in Damascus, Aug. 4, 2019. (photo released on the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency)

The wife of Syria's president says that a year after being diagnosed with breast cancer she is now “completely” free of the disease.

Asma Assad, born in 1975, has gone public with her diagnosis - a rare declaration in the Arab world, where prominent figures often conceal their ailments.

Assad appeared at a military hospital, at times with husband Bashar Assad by her side. She continued her public activities, appearing with covered hair.

In a state TV interview aired late Saturday, Assad sported short blond hair and flashed a wide smile. She encouraged women to go for regular check-ups.

The Assads have continued to present themselves as modern, forward-looking leaders, even as Syria has been convulsed by civil war ignited by a rebellion against the family's decades - long rule.