Syrian President Bashar al-Assad suffered low blood pressure for a few minutes while delivering a speech to parliament before resuming normally, state television said on Wednesday.
Assad, 54, was half an hour through his speech when he began appearing exhausted and halted his speech twice to take a sip of water from a glass in front of him. He stopped for multiple sips of water, telling the audience, "My blood pressure has dropped and I need to drink water".
Shortly afterwards, he said: "I need to sit for a minute if you don't mind", before exiting the room.
It was not clear how long he was absent but when he returned, al-Assad, a trained eye doctor who is not known to have any specific health condition, joked that "doctors are the worst patients". "In truth, I have not had anything to eat since yesterday, only some sugar and salt", the 55-year-old former ophthalmologist said, without elaborating.
Syrian President Bashar al Assad said on Wednesday that sweeping new US sanctions amounted to a new stage of economic warfare against his government and were part of long-standing USA efforts to "choke" the living standards of Syrians.
Assad spoke from a podium to the members of parliament wearing masks and social distancing, seated at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart in a huge hall.
Syria has seen a rising number of coronavirus infections recently, although the overall reported numbers remain low with 1,327 confirmed cases and 53 deaths. Limited testing facilities and Syrian government control over pandemic statistics have led to concerns that the real number of cases is much higher than what's being reported.
The channel gave no further details.
The 54-year-old leader was speaking to the assembly for the first time since last month's parliamentary elections. The vote was the third to take place in Syria since the country's conflict began in 2011.
During his speech, Assad blamed American sanctions for his country's most recent economic woes, including a currency that has plunged to historic lows.
Al-Assad said sweeping new U.S. sanctions amounted to a new stage of economic warfare against his government and were part of Washington's long-standing efforts to "choke" Syrians' living standards.
The pound touched a record low of 3,000 to the USA dollar in June, as many feared the new sanctions would tighten the noose around Assad and worsen Syria's dire economic plight.