Bashar al-Assad is the president of Syria. Born in 1965, he took office in July 2000 a month after his father, Hafez, the previous president, died. In 2011, as part of the Arab Spring, protests began in Syria calling for Assad to be removed from office. They were violently suppressed, and the confrontation escalated to a civil war. The war continues, but was at its most intense in 2015. Assad, with the support of Russia, has retained control of most of the country. Find our latest news and comment on Bashar al-Assad here.