Between Jan. 23 and 27, 2017, there were reports that Syrian president Bashar Al Assad had suffered a stroke and had to be hospitalized. The usually pro-Assad British newspaper The Independent claimed that the Syrian president was suffering serious psychological strain.
Allegations of a president’s poor health take on extra significance in a Russian proxy state. During the Cold War, the Soviets frequently cited allied leaders’ purported medical and psychological problems when launching military interventions — takeovers, essentially — in the countries of the supposedly-ailing heads of state.
Did the same thing just happen in Syria?