Thursday, August 2, 2012

Report: 'I am the real dictator,' wife of Syria's Bashar Assad says

Andreas Lazarou / AFP - Getty Images, file
Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.
The wife of Syria's President Bashar Assad declared that she was the family's "real dictator," according to an email leaked to regime opponents, a British newspaper reported Monday.
British-born Asma Assad's messages imply that she occupies an important spot the dictator's inner circle, the Daily Telegraph reported.
This and a slew of other alleged email exchanges among members of the Syrian elite have been spilling out for days, shedding light on the workings of the embattled government as it continues its violent crackdown on protesters. More than 8,000 people have been killed since the start of the Syrian uprising just over a year ago, according to U.N. figures.
Late Sunday, a firefight broke out between Free Syrian Army rebels and forces loyal to Assad in Mezze, a main district of the capital Damascus, witnesses told Reuters, while a car bomb ripped through a residential area of Syria's second city Aleppo, a day after twin blasts killed 27 in the capital Damascus.

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Saudi Arabia will deliver military equipment to Syrian rebels in an effort to stop the bloodshed. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
"There is fighting near Hamada supermarket and the sound of explosions there and elsewhere in the neighborhood. Security police have blocked several side streets and the street lighting has been cut off," a housewife who lives in the area told Reuters by telephone.
Extra troops have been patrolling in Mezze, located on the Damascus-Beirut road, after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the neighborhood last month to denounce Assad following the killing of several protesters.
Email: 'No more messing around
'Despite the violence, the emails allegedly from Asma Assad, 38, portray a wife who is very supportive of her husband's hard-line measures. She had indicated that she was interested in liberalizing Syria before the beginning of the uprising, the Telegraph reported.

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Syrian state media reports that at least 20 people were killed in attacks that happened just minutes apart in Damascus, Saturday. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
She praised a speech the president gave for displaying a sense of strength and that there would be "no more messing around," in one email to a friend on Jan. 10, the newspaper reported.
Shortly before the government onslaught that would claim hundreds of lives in Homs later in January, she circulated an email making a joke at the expense of the city, the Telegraph said.

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