Syrian President Bashar Al Assad watches as Pope John Paul II boards his plane at Damascus airport May 8, 2001 at the end of the Pontiff's four-day visit to Syria.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, center, and Jordanian King Abdullah ll inspect the honor guard at Amman airport October 18, 2000 in Amman, Jordan. Bashar al-Assad arrived in Jordan for his first working visit to the Amman kingdom of King Abdullah ll since his election in July to discuss the violence in the middle east.
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, center, and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al Sharaa, right, attend the Arab Summit March 27, 2001 in Amman, Jordan. The primary agenda for the first regular Arab summit to be held in 10 years is to reach consensus on the international isolation of Iraq and a unified stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, is greeted by Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar in front of the presidential palace May 3, 2001 in Madrid, Spain. The Syrian president is on a three day official visit to Spain seeking a greater European role in Middle East peacemaking.
Pope John Paul II and Syrian President Bashar Assad listen to national anthems May 5, 2001 after the pope's arrival in Damascus, Syria. The pontiff is in Syria for a four-day visit.
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his British-born wife Asma al-Assad pose for photographers as they arrive at the Lord Mayor's Dinner December 17, 2002 in London. Assad is in London for talks regarding the Iraqi conflict and the Middle East situation.
In this photograph provided by the Syrian news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomes Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak April 20, 2003 in Damascus, Syria. Egyptian President Mubarak arrived in Syria Sunday to discuss growing tensions between Damascus and Washington over Syria's alleged posession of chemical weapons and harboring of former Iraqi regime leaders.
Russian President Vladimir Putin receives Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, January 25, 2005. Russia and Syria have reached a deal on restructuring debt owed by Syria left over from the Soviet era, the Syrian and Russian presidents announced after Kremlin talks.
Syrian President Bashar Assad is seen during a visit to Moscow's State Institute for Foreign Relations on January 25, 2005. Assad was awarded with a honorary doctorate.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is received by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he arrives for a two-day official visit on January 19, 2006 in Damascus, Syria. The allies are meeting amidst continued pressure from the UN in the wake of Iran's nuclear program resumption.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad welcomes Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at the opening of the two-day Arab Summit in Damascus, Syria March 29, 2008. The Arab summit will be held in the Syrian capital from March 29-30.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad heads the closing of the two-day Arab summit on March 30, 2008 in Damascus, Syria.