Bashar al-Assad is rumoured to have suffered a fatal stroke
Social media in the country has been abuzz with claims he has died or is in serious ill-health – a fact disputed by his regime.
Syria's government said in a statement he was in “excellent health and carrying out his functions quite naturally”, despite the fact he has not been seen in public in several days.
The regime's statement added: "The Syrian people had become immune to such lies."
Sources within Assad's regime dismissed the rumours as false and claimed they were started by his opponents.
They claimed enemies of the government regularly attempt to create unrest by claiming he is unwell.
Assad is a divisive figure both in Syria and across the world
Last night one of the country’s veteran television personalities claimed Assad was alive but bedridden.
Faisal al-Qassim Tweeted: “I assure you my sources say that Bashar Assad is bedridden but not unconscious. Severity ratio 70%.”
The Al-Jazeera reporter said Assad should take it as a sign to “stop slaughtering our people”.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed since 2011, when Assad's regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. More than 10 million Syrians have fled the country.
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