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FILE PHOTO: Wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Asma Assad meets with Russian families in Damascus, Syria July 27, 2018. SANA/Handout via Reuters SANA/Handout via REUTERS

(reuters_tickers)

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad has started treatment for early stage breast cancer, Syrian state media reported on Wednesday.

A photo published by the state news agency SANA and the Syrian presidency showed Asma al-Assad, 42, hooked up to a drip smiling and sitting next to her husband President Bashar al-Assad in what appeared to be a hospital room.

"Asma al-Assad begins the first stage of treatment for a malignant tumour of the breast which was discovered early," said a statement issued on the presidency's Telegram feed.

A former investment banker, Asma al-Assad was born and raised in London to Syrian parents. She married Assad in 2000.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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Reuters