Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has told the world’s media that he ‘will not rest’ until residents of Damascus commit to the sort of physical exercise regime that would prevent them succumbing to the sudden bouts of asthma captured on news footage last week.
‘I am sure the whole world will join me in condemning the irresponsible lifestyle choices of my subjects,’ said President Assad today. ‘Gasping for breath, clawing at your face, even suddenly falling down and dying – any doctor will tell you that this is the fate that befalls you if you don’t partake in regular aerobic exercise. It is a sobering lesson for Syria, but we will learn from it and move on.’
Last week’s scenes in Damascus are just the latest example of what the Government calls ‘a culture of inactivity and poor fitness’ suddenly taking its toll on Syrian nationals in the form of city-wide outbreaks of breathing difficulty and death. But President Assad has vowed to tackle the problem and pledged to get Syrians off their sofas and out exercising by blowing up their homes.
‘I want to see people running from place to place, not walking, so tanks will patrol the streets to ensure that no one is dawdling,’ said Assad. ‘Developing agility and quick reflexes is also an important element of a rounded fitness programme, so citizens can work on these skills by avoiding incoming mortars and gunfire. No pain, no gain. It might sound harsh, but I’m doing this for their own good.’
To the delight of environmentalists, the Syrian Government has also committed to reduce pollution which is known to exacerbate asthma. ‘Our rockets are taking cars off the road, but we need to show greater environmental responsibility,’ said Assad. ‘I will start by banning UN weapons inspectors who are known to leave a particularly heavy carbon footprint. If the UN wants to send anyone to Syria, they can send P.E. instructors.’
As President Assad begins his health and fitness revolution, he has told the international community not to worry about any future widespread chemical discharges in Syrian cities. ‘That’ll just be the new, enlarged type of asthma inhaler we’re trialling,’ he said, as a smile lit up his face, and his shoulders shrugged, engagingly.