Bashar Hafez al-Assad is the current President of Syria, in office since 17 July 2000.
Hafez al-Assad was a Syrian statesman, politician and general who was President of Syria from 1971 to 2000, Prime Minister from 1970 to 1971, Regional Secretary of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party and Secretary General of the National Command of the Ba'ath Party from 1970 to 2000.
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.
A presidency is an administration or the executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of president of a state or nation.
Charlie Rose interviews Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad by Sameh Alawany
He is also commander-in-chief of the Syrian Armed Forces, General Secretary of the ruling Ba'ath Party and Regional Secretary of the party's branch in Syria.
A commander-in-chief is the person or body that exercises supreme operational command and control of a nation's military forces or significant elements of those forces.
Syria conflict: BBC exclusive interview with President ... by BBC News
He is a son of Hafez al-Assad, who was President of Syria from 1971 to 2000.
Born in Damascus, Assad graduated from the medical school of Damascus University in 1988, and started to work as a doctor in the army.
The University of Damascus is the largest and oldest university in Syria, located in the capital Damascus and has campuses in other Syrian cities.
Damascus is the capital and the largest city of Syria after Aleppo prior to the civil war.
Four years later, he attended postgraduate studies at the Western Eye Hospital, in London, specialising in ophthalmology.
Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.
Western Eye Hospital is an ophthalmology hospital in west London.
In 1994, after his elder brother Bassel was killed in a car crash, Bashar was recalled to Syria to take over Bassel's role as heir apparent.
An heir apparent is a person, of either sex, who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person.
He entered the military academy, taking charge of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 1998.
The Syrian occupation of Lebanon –1976-2005 began in 1976 as a result of the Syrian Ba'th Regime's bid to control Lebanon, and ended in 26 April 2005 as a result of the Cedar Revolution, after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafic Hariri.
On 10 July 2000, he was elected as President, succeeding his father, who died in office a month prior.
In both the 2000 and subsequent 2007 election, Bashar Assad received votes in his favor in the upper 90th percentile in uncontested elections; there was no legal opposition.
On 16 July 2014, Bashar Assad was sworn in for another seven-year term after taking 88.7% of votes in the first contested presidential election in Ba'athist Syria's history, running against two regime-sanctioned candidates.
The elections were alleged by politicians and media outlets as "tightly controlled" and without independent election monitors, while an international delegation led by allies of Assad, composed of officials from more than 30 countries issued a statement stating that the election was "free, fair and transparent".
The form of government Assad presides over has been described as an authoritarian regime by Western political scientists.
The Assad government describes itself as secular, while some experts contend that the government exploits ethnic and sectarian tensions in the country to remain in power.
The government's allegedly sectarian base relying upon the Alawite minority has been noted.
The Alawites, also known as Alawis, are part of a branch of Islam, Alawi Islam, centered in Syria, who follow the Twelver school of Shia Islam but with syncretistic elements.
Once seen by the domestic and international community as a potential reformer, he allegedly ordered crackdowns and military sieges on Arab Spring protesters, leading to the Syrian Civil War.
The Arab Spring was a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 17 December 2010 in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution, and spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and its surroundings.
The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria in which international interventions have taken place.
The Syrian opposition, the United States, the European Union and the majority of the Arab League called for al-Assad's resignation from the presidency.
The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
The Arab League, formally the League of Arab States, is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
The European Union is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.
During the Syrian Civil War, an inquiry by the United Nations human rights chief found evidence to implicate Assad in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population or an identifiable part of a population.
A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the law of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility.
Assad was included in a list of 20 sample war crimes indictments of government officials and rebels handed to the International Criminal Court, by David Crane, an American professor at Syracuse University College of Law.
Syracuse University College of Law, founded in 1895, is a Juris Doctor degree-granting law school of Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands.
In November 2014, the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced that evidence would be brought against Assad.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, also referred to as the Lebanon Tribunal or the Hariri Tribunal, is an international tribunal operating under Lebanese criminal law to carry out the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the 14 February 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, and the deaths of 22 others.