Syria’s first lady re­jects of­fers to leave coun­try

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SYRIA’S first lady Asma al-As­sad said she re­jected mul­ti­ple of­fers to flee the war-rav­aged coun­try with her chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­view with broad­caster Rus­sia24.

The com­ments were part of the Bri­tish-born Ms As­sad’s first in­ter­view with in­ter­na­tional me­dia since Syria’s re­volt erupted in 2011 with de­mands for Mr As­sad’s ouster.

“I never thought of be­ing any­where else at all. Yes, I was of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to leave Syria, or rather to run from Syria,” the 41-year-old said.

“These of­fers in­cluded guar­an­tees of safety and pro­tec­tion for my chil­dren, and fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity.

“It doesn’t take a genius to know what these peo­ple were re­ally af­ter. It was never about my well­be­ing or my chil­dren – it was a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to shat­ter peo­ple’s con­fi­dence in their pres­i­dent,” she said.

Ms As­sad’s mar­riage to Mr As­sad was an­nounced by state me­dia six months af­ter he as­sumed the pres­i­dency in July 2000 fol­low­ing the death of his fa­ther.

The former in­vest­ment banker styled her­self as a pro­gres­sive rights ad­vo­cate and was seen as the mod­ern side of the As­sad dy­nasty.

She did not ap­pear much in pub­lic in the first few years of the up­ris­ing, but over the past two years has been a lot more ac­tive.

The mother of three chil­dren has stood at her hus­band’s side in his rare pub­lic ap­pear­ances, pos­ing for pho­tos with sup­port­ers in pic­tures posted to the pres­i­dency’s In­sta­gram ac­count.

With the death toll in Syria’s con­flict now at least 300,000, Ms Asma has been seen smil­ing be­side chil­dren, ath­letes and grad­u­ates in shared im­ages the United States has de­nounced as “a de­spi­ca­ble PR stunt”. –

Photo: AFP

Asma al-As­sad says she never con­sid­ered leav­ing Syria.

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