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Asma Assad, Syria President's Wife, Urged To Stop Her Husband In New Video

Reuters  |  Posted: 04/17/2012 2:09 pm Updated: 04/18/2012 12:20 am


By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS, April 17 (Reuters) - The wives of U.N. ambassadors from Britain and Germany targeted Syria's first lady on Tuesday with an online appeal to "stop your husband" in his yearlong bid to quash a popular uprising that has left thousands dead.

The video contrasts the lavish lifestyle of 36-year-old Asma al-Assad, wife of President Bashar al-Assad and mother of three, with the images of dead and injured Syrian children.

"Stand up for peace, Asma. Speak out now. For the sake of your people. Stop your husband," asks the video. "Stop being a bystander. No one cares about your image. We care about your action."

The video () asks viewers to sign a petition at www.change.org demanding the London-born first lady speak out to "stop the bloodshed."

It was produced by Sheila Lyall Grant, the wife of Britain's U.N. envoy, and Huberta von Voss-Wittig, the wife of Germany's U.N. ambassador. Britain and Germany are both members of the U.N. Security Council.

"We strongly believe in Asma's responsibility as a woman, as a wife and as a mother. As the vocal female Arab leader that she used to be, as a champion of female equality, she can not hide behind her husband," Lyall Grant and Wittig said in a statement.

A former investment banker, Asma al-Assad once cultivated the image of a serious-minded woman inspired by Western values.

But she appears to have continued a life of luxury shopping during the uprising against the four-decade rule of the Assad family. E-mails exchanged with her husband, obtained by Britain's Guardian newspaper, apparently showed they were buying pop music and luxury goods on the Internet during the conflict.

The European Union has banned Asma al-Assad from traveling to the EU or shopping from European companies.

"Some women are for style and some women care for their people. Some women struggle for their image and some women struggle for their survival," says the video.

The U.N. estimates Assad's forces have killed more than 9,000 people in the uprising. Syrian authorities say foreign-backed militants have killed over 2,600 soldiers and police.

The 15-nation U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to authorize an initial deployment of 30 unarmed observers to monitor a shaky truce that started on Thursday.

Photos: 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  |