Bilal in 2009.
|Minister of Information|
21 February 2006 – 29 March 2011
|Preceded by||Mahdi Dakhlallah|
|Succeeded by||Adnan Mahmoud|
|Born||1944 (age 75–76)|
|Political party||Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party|
|Alma mater||University of Padua|
University of Pennsylvania
Early life and education
Bilal was born into a prominent Alawite family in Burghalieh, Tartus Governorate, in 1944. His father lived in Argentina between 1930 and 1936, where he worked as an Arabic teacher. He studied medicine at the University of Padua, graduating in 1970. In 1976, he specialized in surgery in Italy. Then he received his PhD in medicine and surgery from the University of Pennsylvania with the specialization in liver transplantation. He was initially engaged to be married to Bushra al-Assad but she later annulled the engagement in order to marry Assef Shawkat, a comparative outsider in the regime in a match unpopular with the regime. Bilal eventually married Dr. Faten Rustum, a prominent fellow doctor
After graduation, Bilal became the head of surgery at the Al Assad University Hospital. He then served as a professor of surgery at the faculty of medicine at Damascus University from 1977 to 2001.
His political career started in 1977 when he was elected to the Peoples Assembly. In 1981, he was named the chairman of the Arab and foreign affairs committee, and served in this position until 1985. He led the Syrian delegation at the 1982 World Peace Conference in Prague. In 2001, he became Syria's ambassador to Spain, and he held this post until he was appointed minister of information to the cabinet headed by then prime minister Mohammad Naji Otari in February 2006. He replaced Mahdi Dakhlallah as information minister. When Bilal was in office, he acted as chief spokesperson for the Syrian government during the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006. Bilal's term ended in April 2011 when he was succeeded by Adnan Mahmoud.
Bilal speaks English, Spanish, and Italian.
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