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Syria's Assad halts speech due to low blood pressure: State TV

Incident reported to have lasted for a few minutes while president was delivering address to parliament
State televison said the speech, which was supposed to be delivered at around noon local time, would now be broadcast in full later in the evening (AFP)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad suffered low blood pressure for a few minutes while delivering a speech to parliament before resuming normally, state television said on Wednesday.

"This was a result of a small drop in blood pressure that Mr President suffered before he resumed his speech normally," it said.

The speech, which was supposed to be delivered at around noon local time, will now be broadcast in full at 6.30pm (15:30 GMT).

State media had earlier in the day flashed that a speech was due to be delivered to deputies after a parliamentary election last month that the opposition and independent observers denounced as a farce in a country under one party Baath rule.

State media makes few references to the health of the 55-year-old authoritarian ruler of a country that is mired in an economic collapse and has gone through a nearly decade of war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and made millions refugees.

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Assad's health has been called into question several times throughout the conflict, with rumours dismissed by Syrian authorities or ignored.

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