Bashar Hafez al-Assad is the President of the Syrian Arab Republic and leader of the Socialist Ba'ath Party.
Assad (born September 11, 1965) was born in Damascus. When Bashar was only five years old, his father, Hafez al-Assad, took control of the Ba'ath Party in the 1970 revolution which eventually led to him being installed as President that same year.
Bashar received his primary and secondary education in the Arab-French al-Hurriya School in Damascus, graduating in 1982. He then studied medicine at the University of Damascus and graduated as a physician, specializing in ophthalmology, in 1988. He went to Britain in 1992 to continue his specialization and returned to Syria two years later. Bashar al-Assad was thrown into politics in 1994 by the death of his older brother Basil (in a car crash), who was being groomed for the presidency. As result, he joined the military and was promoted to colonel in January 1999.
Immediately following his father's death on June 10, 2000, the Syrian parliament amended the constitution, reducing the mandatory minimum age of the president from 40 to 34 years old so Bashar would be legally eligible for nomination by the ruling Ba'ath Party. On July 10, 2000, Bashar was elected President by referendum in which he ran unopposed, garnering 97.29% of the vote, according to Syrian Government statistics. He was inaugurated into office on July 17, 2000 for a 7-year term.
On May 27, 2007, President Al-Asad was reaffirmed by referendum for a second 7-year term with 97.6% of the vote.
Assad is married to Asma Akhras, a British citizen of Syrian origin, and has three children - Hafez, Zein and Karim.