(1965 - )
Bashar al-Assad was born on September 11, 1965, in Damascus, the son of former Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad. Bashar studied medicine at the Damascus University 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 Al-Asad 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.
Source: BICOM, U.S. Department of State