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Friday
Mar232012

Syria's Stylish First Lady Hit With Sanctions

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife, Asma, is set to join him Friday on the long list of Syrian officials and institutions on which the European Union has slapped sanctions.  The measures, European leaders hope, will help end the bloody crackdown in Syria that has left more than 8,00 people dead.

The new sanctions will mean an asset freeze on the British-born first lady, and she will not be allowed to travel or shop in the EU (though it's unclear if she'll be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom).  But it is her shopping habits that highlight this latest round of restrictions.

Last week, The Guardian and other news organizations published a trove of e-mails allegedly between the president, first lady, family and top aides.  They paint Asma al-Assad as an adoring wife who despite the violence ravaging her country, continued to shop for luxury items abroad.

She spent tens of thousands of dollars on chandeliers, candlesticks and necklaces, among many other items.  She sent a friend photos of Christian Louboutin jewel-encrusted high heels "not made for the general public," to which the friend responded "Haha?I actually LOVE them!!!?But I don't think they're not going 2 b useful any time soon unfortunately.."

She had an eye for deals, writing to an assistant in London about a $4,000 vase, "Pls can abdulla see if this available at Harrods to order ? they have a sale at the moment."  To which the assistant replied, "He bought it. Got 15% discount."

Asma al-Assad signed the emails "aaa," presumably standing for her initials, or used the name of a secretary, Alia Kayali.

The Guardian said the 3,000 e-mails had been obtained from a mole in the regime via opposition sources.  If genuine, they show no evidence of a president and first lady ready to throw in the towel.

On the contrary, Asma al-Assad wrote to the address The Guardian says is the president's, saying, "If we are strong together, we will overcome this together...I love you."

Bashar al-Assad, in turn, emailed her the lyrics of country musician Blake Shelton's song "God Gave Me You" which goes, "The person that I've been lately, ain't who I want to be.  But you stay here right beside me, and watch as the storm blows through."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio