The world knows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the ‘brutal dictator’ who unleashed chemical weapons on his own people last month. A lot is being said about his personal life as well. Even his brothers, Maher and Bassel al-Assad, were brought up in the news over the past few weeks. But not much attention has been given to the first lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad. Once a high-profile personality, Asma al-Assad has been known for her sense of style and her controversial online shopping obsession.
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While Bashar asl-Assad is frequently cited in the news in response to US threats to attack Syria, not a word has been uttered by Asma al-Assad, not even a denial of the accusations being pointed towards the Syrian regime.
The last time she made a public comment was when her husband’s Instagram account emerged on the internet with photos of the al-Assad family posing with Syrian people and politicians. Some of the pictures featuring Asma al-Assad have been compiled below:
She recently made headlines on Mail Online for reportedly buying exorbitantly-priced Bohemian crystal chandeliers from Prague while a massacre was being carried out in her country. She was compared to Marie Antoinette by an Instagram user over her “cheery” photos on the presidency's official account and her $129 Jawbone UP wristband also did a lot of rounds in mainstream media.
Although there is no in-depth information about Asma al-Assad’s whereabouts, Andrew Tabler, a Syria/Libya expert and senior fellow at The Washington Institute told CNN that she might be “just hunkered down in Damascus” and that “she's standing by her man” – implying that she may still be in Syria
But it’s not just Bashar al-Assad’s wife who is observing radio silence in the media. His three children -two sons Hafez and Karim al-Assad, and daughter Zein - have not been mentioned as such since the war escalated in Syria.
There is one exception. A Facebook post surfaced on the internet last Wednesday, apparently written by Basher al-Assad’s eldest son, 11-year-old Hafez. It was an open letter which taunted the United States military. The account was deleted afterwards but media outlets managed to save a screenshot of the diatribe.
Maybe the Assads are not as important as the chemical weapons found in Syria. But they are the First Family of Syria and therefore hold a great deal of significance. One wonders what they are up to when Bashar al-Assad’s regime is facing its biggest challenge yet – foreign attack.