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Asma Assad, Wife Of Bashar Assad, Speaks Out

Asma Assad

First Posted: 02/ 7/2012 2:03 pm Updated: 02/ 7/2012 2:30 pm

In a rare public statement, Bashar Assad's wife has sent an email to the Times for publication. Her message is clear; the Syrian first lady stands firmly beside her husband as the country teeters toward the brink of civil war.

"The President is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the First Lady supports him in that role," the email stated, according to AFP.

Asma Assad largely has remained quiet since the start of the protests in Syria in March 2011. The statement sent from her office reportedly said that "the First Lady's very busy agenda is still focused on supporting the various charities she has long been involved with and rural development as well as supporting the President as needed."

Asma Assad grew up in Acton, West London, the Daily Mail reports. She graduated from King's College London and worked for Deutsche Bank as an analyst in hedge-fund management before marrying Bashar Assad in 2000.

Asma Assad's family are Sunni Muslims from Homs, the city that has been heavily targeted by security forces in the past months.

Nesrine Malik, a commentator for The Guardian who calls Asma Assad "one of a breed of educated westernised Arab first wives" who "default unquestioningly to their fathers and husbands," noted the poor timing of the first lady's comments.

On Tuesday, shelling of Syria's "revolution capital" Homs reportedly claimed the lives of around 19 more people.

Last Saturday, government troops shelled Homs in an overnight bombardment, killing more than 200 people. It was the deadliest assault in the uprising so far, according to the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, an activist identified as Omar told the AP that tanks were still occupying parts of the city.

"The shelling has been going on for days and the siege is getting worse. We are short of everything including food and medical supplies," Omar told the AP. "People here have not slept for days," he said.

Below, see photos of Bashar Assad's wife Asma Assad:
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  • Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad listens to a speech by her husband, President Bashar al-Assad, during a rare public appearance in Damascus on January 11, 2012. Assad vowed to defeat a 'conspiracy' against Syria, a day after he blamed foreign interests for stoking months of deadly violence. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) and First Lady Asma al-Assad (C-L) arrive at Al-Jalaa Stadium in Damascus on June 30, 2011 to meet with regime supporters who made the biggest Syrian flag as a deadly crackdown continued on democracy protests across the country. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma gestures as she speaks at the Bristol hotel on December 11, 2010 in Paris. Al-Assad is on a two-days official visit to France. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma poses at the Bristol hotel on December 11, 2010 in Paris. Al-Assad is on a two-days official visit to France. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma walk in a street of Paris on December 10, 2010. ( MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma leave the Bristol hotel on December 10, 2010 in Paris. Al-Assad is on a two-days official visit to France. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma walk in a street of Paris on December 10, 2010. Al-Assad is on a two-days official visit to France. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma speaks during a meeting at the International diplomatic academy on December 10, 2010 in Paris. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma gestures as she speaks during a meeting at the International diplomatic academy on December 10, 2010 in Paris. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Asma, listens to national anthems during welcoming ceremonies on April 27, 2009 for her husband at the presidential in Vienna at the start of his two-day state visit. (JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

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Filed by Eline Gordts  |