MOSCOW - President Bashar al-Assad was among those to be vaccinated after Syria received a first shipment of Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, Russia's Interfax news agency reported on Thursday, citing the Syrian ambassador to Russia.

Ambassador Riad Haddad did not say how big the shipment was but said the vaccine was now being administered to the public after doctors and the country's senior leaders were among those to get the first shots.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Alison Williams) ((; +7 727 2508 500; Reuters Messaging: