The al-Assad family (Arabic: عائِلَة الأَسَد) has ruled Syria since Hafez al-Assad became President of Syria in 1971 and established an authoritarian regime under the control of the Ba'ath Party. After his death in 2000, his son Bashar succeeded him.
The Assads are originally from Qardaha, just east of Latakia in north-west Syria. They are members of the minority Alawite sect and belong to the Kalbiyya tribe. The family name Assad goes back to 1927, when Ali Sulayman (1875–1963) changed his last name to al Assad, which means "the lion" in Arabic, possibly in connection with his social standing as a local mediator and his political activities. All members of the extended Assad family stem from Ali Sulayman and his second wife Naissa, who came from a village in the An-Nusayriyah Mountains.
Family connections continue to be important in Syrian politics. Several close family members of Hafez al-Assad have held important positions in the government since his rise to power and continuing after his death.