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Entries in Asma al-Assad (3)

Tuesday
Jan292013

Is Syrian President's Wife Pregnant?

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images(BEIRUT) -- Amid all the instability in Syria comes word that President Bashar al-Assad's wife is pregnant.

If the report in the Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper is true, it would be the fourth child for the president and Asma al-Assad, 37.

Word of the pregnancy was apparently confirmed by Bashar himself during an interview and based on previous rumors that have floated around for the past few months.  His wife is due to give birth in March.

The pregnancy is welcome news to the family and its supporters although it will likely have no bearing on the future conduct of the two-year civil war that has left more than 60,000 people dead.

Bashar has vowed to remain in power despite international pressure to step down while opposition forces remain equally determined to overthrow the president's 12-year regime.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Ambassadors' Wives Urge Syrian First Lady to End the Violence

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations made a harshly worded video appeal to Asma Al-Assad, the first lady of Syria, to use her influence to stop the bloodshed in her country.

A powerful film, posted on YouTube, juxtaposing Mrs. Assad’s lavish lifestyle with graphic pictures of wounded and dead women and children, asks the public to sign a petition demanding that the first lady stop the violence.

“Some women care for style,” says the video, showing a glamorous picture of Mrs. Assad referencing her lavish shopping sprees in Europe. The film then dissolves into a picture of a Syrian woman carrying a baby amidst children in what looks like a chaotic and dark room. “And some care for their people,” the narrator says.

The contrast grows starker as the four-and-a-half-minute video progresses, even using Mrs. Assad’s own words against her. The first lady, who was born in the United Kingdom and is a British citizen, was once considered an advocate for Syria’s transition to a more democratic society.

The film shows a clip of the first lady giving a speech in which she says, “We should all be able to live in peace, stability and with our dignities." The clip then asks, “What happened to you, Asma?”

Asma Al-Assad has come under intense criticism for her lavish lifestyle and support of her husband Bashir Al-Assad during the crackdown in Syria, which has lasted over a year and killed an estimated 10,000 people. Emails obtained by the Guardian show Mrs. Assad spending tens of thousands of dollars shopping online and joking about the uprising, calling herself “the real dictator” in the family.

Sheila Lyall Grant, the wife of British U.N. Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant and Huberta von Moss, wife of German U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig, are the women responsible for the video and petition. They issued a statement explaining their actions.

“We strongly believe in Asma’s responsibility as a woman, as a wife and as a mother,” they wrote. “As the vocal female Arab leader that she used to be, as a champion of female equality, she cannot hide behind her husband.”

Besides the private emails in which she expresses love and support for President Assad and his actions, she publicly declared she is standing by her husband in an email sent to the The Times of London in February via a representative:

“The president is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians,” the statement read.  ”And the First Lady supports him in that role.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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