In a statement on Facebook, the government said Assad was in “excellent health and carrying out his functions quite naturally”. It said “the Syrian people had become immune to such lies” which and said the rumours would only provoke “derision”.
The denial follows reports by a Lebanese newspaper, al-Mustaqbal, which quoted “reliable sources” saying Assad had suffered from a cerebral infarction and was currently being treated in hospital.
Another Lebanese newspaper, al-Diyar, which supports the Syrian regime, also reported on Friday that the dictator had suffered from a stroke but had since retracted the story, the Saudi-owned news channel al-Arabiya reported.
Earlier this week, Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat claimed the president’s mental health was suffering after almost six years of civil war.
Citing unnamed sources it said Russian officials believed Assad was “exhausted by five years of war and tension” and had developed a nervous tick in his left eye as a result of “psychological pressure”.