Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria and the wife of Bashar al-Assad the Syrian President has said that she refused to leave her husband’s side in the middle of the war in spite of having been offered asylum.
In an interview to a Russian TV channel, Asma al-Assad mentioned that she was offered, along with her children, a safe passage and asylum out of the war-torn country but refused the offer because she realised that this was a way of ‘undermining her husband’s image and authority as president’.
The London Born former investment banker has been married to Assad for 16 years and has been first lady for the same length of time. Her husband Bashar al-Assad took over as leader of Syria in 2000 following the death of his father, Hafez who had ruled since 1971
Syria has been at war since after the Arab Spring in 2011. Pro-democracy activists had asked for the removal of Assad’s regime and were met with violent suppression. The subsequent war has been going on for 6 years and has divided the country in various factions.
The First lady thanked Russia in the interview for its ‘noble efforts’ in support of the Assad regime. She said that she had been there (in Syria) since the beginning and had not contemplated leaving to be anywhere.
She elaborated that she was offered the chance to run away from Syria and the war with physical and even financial security. She stated that it was obvious that the offer was an attempt at shattering the ‘people’s confidence in their President’. The First Lady refrained from mentioning who the offer had come from.
The Syrian war has been on the international radar due to the US and Russia taking opposite sides in terms of involvement and support. While the US along with France and a few other countries has supported the rebels against the regime, Russia has cited the presence of extremist entities present in the rebels as the reason behind supporting Assad’s regime.