Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, began treatment for early stage breast cancer as the government released an image of her with an intravenous drip inserted in her left hand on its social media accounts.
The accompanying statement said the "malignant tumor" was discovered in its early stages.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad with his wife, Asma Assad in a hospital room has she goes through her treatment for breast cancer.More news: Everton on threshold of signing Bernard from Shakhtar Donetsk on free transfer
The postings included a photograph of the first lady with an IV line in her arm and smiling at her husband, who is sitting next to her, while apparently undergoing treatment in a hospital.
Since Syria's civil war broke out, Asma Assad has mostly been seen in public receiving families of fallen soldiers, or hosting people wounded in the conflict, now in its eighth year, which has killed more than 400,000 people.
The EU placed heavy sanctions on Asma in 2012 after the Syrian government responded to the 2011 uprising with extreme violence. She was still allowed to travel between Syria and Great Britain, where she retained citizenship. She was also personally sanctioned by the EU.More news: Rick Gates, testifying in Manafort trial, admits to affair, London apartment
Before the crisis began in March 2011, she was the subject of flattering profiles in Vogue and other fashion magazines.
She was one of twelve people placed under European Union sanctions in 2012 over the government's violent response to the Syrian uprising.
Asma's last foreign interview was conducted in October 2016 with Kremlin-backed RT, in which she said she turned down offers from foreign adversaries for guarantees of safety and financial security if she fled the war-torn country.More news: Palestinian killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza Strip
The same photo was posted on Asma's Instagram account, prompting a flurry of good wishes from many of her 260,000 followers. She worked in the field of banking and investment before marrying to Bashar Assad.