Bashar al-Assad was born in 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 1999.
Bashar was named Commander in Chief of the armed forces in 2000.

Bashar replaced his father Hafez al-Assad as leader of Syria soon after his death on June 10, 2000. In 2007,
he was reelected to a second seven-year term as president.
Bashar al-Assad Biography