Asma al-Assad
First Lady of Syria
Asma al-Assad
Asma al-Assad born 11 August 1975, née Asma al-Akhras, is the British-Syrian First Lady of Syria. Born, raised and educated in the United Kingdom by Syrian-born parents, she graduated from King's College London in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in computer science and French literature. She briefly pursued a career in international investment banking before moving to Syria to marry President Bashar al-Assad in December 2000.
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Assad's wife: I turned down chance to leave
CNN - 4 months
Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad is standing by her man, telling a Russian TV network that she refused offers to flee the war-torn country with her children.
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CNN article
Syrian First Lady Makes an Appearance, as Syria Talks Continue
Wall Street Journal - 6 months
Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad made a rare public appearance this week, at a Damascus University graduation ceremony. Meanwhile, US Secretary Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva on Friday, to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to continue Syria talks. Photo: Syrian Presidential Office
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Wall Street Journal article
Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad visits orphans - about 1 year
The wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Asma al-Assad, visits an orphan's care center on the occasion of the Prophet Mohammad's birthday. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).
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Syrian first lady makes rare public appearance - about 1 year
Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad visits disabled children in Damascus in a relatively rare public appearance. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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Syrian first lady makes rare public appearance - about 1 year
Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad visits disabled children in Damascus in a relatively rare public appearance. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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Syrian first lady visits elementary school - about 3 years
Jan. 9 - Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad visits elementary school students in Damascus. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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Syria first lady pledges to stand by husband
Yahoo News - over 3 years
Damascus (AFP) - Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad laughed off claims she has fled the war-hit country in footage broadcast on Tuesday, saying she was standing by her embattled husband President Bashar al-Assad.
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Yahoo News article
Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad's Instagram Account Makes Him Look Like Mother Teresa
Business Insider - over 3 years
What do you know about Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad? He's a dictator. His government has condoned the kidnapping, raping, torturing, and killing of the Syrian people.  He has allegedly ordered chemical attacks on his citizens. He and his wife love children, and soup kitchens, and comforting the wounded! Wait, you didn't know that last one? Well, let me direct you to Bashar al-Assad's Instagram feed where you can look at images of him and his wife, Asma, showing the world just how sweet they can be.  Currently, more than 40,000 people follow the account, though by no means is the majority duped into taking all of Assad's photos at face value. Many call out the Instagram feed as propaganda or post mean comments on some of the more saccharine photos ("Somebody will be rolling your head down the street soon, just like that," user mhughes69 writes below a picture of Assad's wife rolling a basketball to a child).  Assad visiting the wounded in a military hospital. A ...
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Business Insider article
How Assad Wooed the American Right, and Won the Syria Propaganda War
Foreign Policy - over 3 years
Even before President Barack Obama put his plans to strike the Syrian regime on hold, he was losing the battle of public opinion about military intervention. Part of the credit, no doubt, goes to a successful media blitz by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its supporters. In an interview aired on Monday night, Assad himself advanced his government's case to Charlie Rose, saying that the United States had not presented "a single shred of evidence" proving the Syrian military had used chemical weapons. Assad has always been able to skillfully parry Western journalists' criticisms of his regime -- and, at times, it has won him positive international coverage. Before the uprising, the U.S. media often described the Assad family as Westernized leaders who were trying to bring their country into the 21st century. The most infamous example was Vogue's profile of Asma al-Assad, which described Syria's first lady as "a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind ... ...
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Foreign Policy article
No Shoes for You
Huffington Post - over 3 years
So a "red line" appears only in conjunction with chemical weapons? I get it, that there is a treaty to which President Obama's illustrative ultimatum refers -- I also know how susceptible the masses are to quotable quips. To paint lines in red, like stitching scarlet letters on breasts, brings into the mix (aka "debate") a dramatic element that appears to reduce us all -- once again -- to the pre-conflict posturing of fighting cock figureheads and the resulting, testosterone-laden suiting up and profiteering that is war. When will we ever learn? Fabricated lines colored in red, like war, make for a bleak picture in any situation that involves greedy and fickle humans who are anything but linear and primary in their proclivity to tainted contest and combat. But really, if we treaty-endorsing ones were consistent with our humanitarian line-drawing, we'd have drawn a hard, fast one ages ago when technology facilitated its first near-real-time relaying of a story of some young woman being s ...
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Huffington Post article
How did a modern feminist become a brutal dictator's wife?
Fox News - over 3 years
How did Asma al-Assad go from being a fighter for women's rights to the wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad?
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Fox News article
Syrian first lady's photo ops belie butchery of husband's regime
Fox News - over 3 years
While the Syrian regime engages in a bloody crackdown -- including the alleged chemical attack on hundreds of children -- a social media account belonging to the Syrian first couple shows images of first lady Asma al-Assad feeding the poor and comforting children.
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Fox News article
Asma al-Assad lies low
CNN - over 3 years
Images of Asma al-Assad may have appeared on her husband's Instagram feed but Syria's first lady remains silent.
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CNN article
Obama announces additional humanitarian aid for Syrians - Washington Post
Google News - about 4 years Obama announces additional humanitarian aid for Syrians Washington Post President Obama said Tuesday that the United States will provide $155 million in new humanitarian assistance to Syrians, nearly doubling the American commitment as the number of refugees from the civil war continues to rise. Obama's promise comes a day ... Obama announces additional $155 million in aid to SyriaUSA TODAY Syria: Asma al-Assad 'pregnant with fourth child' A resounding Russian slapHaaretz Fox News -Daily Mail -AFP all 158 news articles »
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Google News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Asma al-Assad
  • 2013
    She made another public appearance in October 2013 and further dispelled the rumors of her fleeing the country by saying "I was here yesterday, I'm here today and I will be here tomorrow".
    More Details Hide Details In March 2011, Vogue published "A Rose in the Desert," a flattering profile of Assad by veteran fashion writer Joan Juliet Buck. The article was later removed from Vogue’s website without editorial comment that spring. Responding to media inquiries about the disappearance of Assad's profile, Vogue’s editor stated that "as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue". The New York Times later reported that the piece was intended as part of a larger Syrian government-sponsored image campaign coordinated by the public relations firm Brown Lloyd James. Buck has since written another article for Newsweek giving an extremely critical account of Assad. Asma and Bashar al-Assad have three children: Hafez, Zein, and Karim.
    As of September 2013, as well, her public Instagram page continued to be updated with photos of Asma engaged in community service activities.
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    She made a public appearance at the Damascus Opera House for an event called "Mother's Rally" on 18 March 2013, refuting the rumors.
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  • 2012
    On 23 March 2012, the European Union froze her assets and placed a travel ban on her and President Assad's other close family members as part of escalating sanctions against the Syrian government.
    More Details Hide Details Assad herself remains able to travel to the UK because of her British nationality but she is barred from entering the rest of the EU. On 16 April 2012, Huberta von Voss Wittig and Sheila Lyall Grant, the wives of the German and British ambassadors to the United Nations, released a four-minute video asking Assad to stand up for peace and urge her husband to end the bloodshed in her country. She had not been seen in public regularly since the July 2012 bombing of the Military Intelligence Directorate, leading to press speculation and government denials that she had fled the country or the Capital.
    The Daily Telegraph reported that in January 2012, despite worldwide condemnation of her husband's government, she appeared with him and two of their children at a pro-government rally.
    More Details Hide Details She issued her first official statement to international media since the insurrection began in February 2012, nearly a year after the first serious protests. Also in early February, she sent an email to The Times stating: "The President is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the first lady supports him in that role". The communique also described her continued support for charities and rural development activities and related that she "comforts" the "victims of the violence".
    A serious blow has been dealt to her public image since the Syrian Civil War intensified in early 2012, as the first lady was criticized for remaining silent throughout the beginning of the Syrian uprising.
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  • 2005
    Much of her modern day image involves public questioning about her role in Syria's governance alongside her husband, particularly in contrast to the programs she implemented within the country before the conflict; media reports include questions such as, "What are the chances that some of the thousands who have been killed, wounded, or imprisoned during the current unrest were involved in Massar, the organization that she founded in 2005 to involve young people in active citizenship?" The following remark addresses such claims:
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  • 2000
    She briefly pursued a career in international investment banking before she married President Bashar al-Assad in December 2000 and remained in Syria following the wedding.
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    She reconnected with Bashar al-Assad, the future president of Syria and a longtime family friend, while he was studying ophthalmology in London, and they remained in touch. After Syrian President Hafez al-Assad's death in June 2000, Bashar took over the presidency, as Hafez's intended heir, Bashar's brother, had died in a car accident in 1994. Asma moved to Syria in November 2000 and married Bashar in December of that year.
    More Details Hide Details The marriage surprised many since there had been no media reports of their dating and courtship prior to the wedding. Many interpreted the union as a reconciliation and sign of progression towards a more reformative government as Asma grew up in the United Kingdom and represents the Sunni majority unlike Bashar. During this time period out of the spotlight after the wedding, Asma travelled throughout Syria to 100 villages in 13 of the 14 governorates to speak with Syrians and learn where she should direct her future policies. She went on to create a collection of organizations that functioned under the charity sector of the government, a new initiative for a traditionally Ba'athist governing structure, referred to as the Syrian Trust for Development; the organizations include FIRDOS (rural micro-credit), SHABAB (business skills for youth), BASMA (children with cancer), RAWAFED (cultural development), the Syrian Organization for the Disabled, and the Syrian Development Research Centre, aimed to target rural communities, economic development, disabled citizens, cultural development, and children's and women's development, respectively. Most well-known were the MASSAR centers she created, locations that functioned as community centers for children to learn active citizenship. From this work, she earned a spot as one of the Middle East 411 Magazine's "World's Most Influential Arabs". Today, the legitimacy of these organizations and their formation is criticized for being part of a reformative public image but not actually creating developmental change the way they were supposedly intended to.
  • 1998
    After graduating from King's College London, she started work as an economics analyst at Deutsche Bank Group in the hedge fund management division with clients in Europe and East Asia. In 1998 she joined the investment banking division of J.P. Morgan where she worked on a team that specialized in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
    More Details Hide Details She credits her banking experience with giving her "analytical thinking" and an ability to "understand the business side of running a company" that inspired her later work in Syria.
  • 1996
    She graduated from King's College London in 1996 with a first-class bachelor of science degree in computer science and a diploma in French literature.
    More Details Hide Details She speaks English, Arabic, French, and Spanish.
    She was born to Syrian-born parents, raised and educated in the United Kingdom, and graduated from King's College London in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in computer science and French literature.
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  • 1975
    Born on August 11, 1975.
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