One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(1930–2000), Syrian statesman; president 1971–2000. While in office, he ensured the strengthening of Syria's oil-based economy and suppressed political opposition such as the uprising of Muslim extremists (1979–82). He supported the coalition forces during the 1991 Gulf War. His son Bashar al-Assad (born 1965) succeeded him: in 2011 a series of protests against his rule led to the Syrian civil war.
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