Even as harrowing reports emerge out of Syria of the desperation of families displaced due to two years of civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his suave wife Asma are preparing to welcome a new addition to their family.
In a report published Monday, relaying comments from anonymous visitors to Syria who “sat with Assad,” Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper revealed in passing that the first lady of Syria was pregnant with the couple’s fourth child.
“On the personal level, the man seems calm and in control,” said an English language online version of the article. “His confidence level stands out. Also, there’s the news of the pregnancy of his wife Asma, which could not be dealt with as a simple personal matter between a couple.”
There were rumors that the first lady of Syria conceived in June, as reported by Al Bawaba, an Amman-based news site in November.
Asma, the 37-year-old mother of three, became a hate figure for many when a trove of emails was leaked in March from her personal account, which drew the picture of a wasteful first lady out of touch with the realities in her homeland.
The emails showed her arranging the purchase of an Armani lamp from Harrods, London, necklaces from Paris and luxurious furniture to be sent to Damascus, after the Syrian revolution began in March 2011.
Though she sounded tense in some emails about the pressure from the international community for the Syrian regime to step down, she wrote to her husband in a late December 2011 email: “If we are strong together, we will overcome this together ... I love you...”
Asma, who gave up a career at JP Morgan in London and was about to begin an MBA program at Harvard when she started dating the second son of Syria's then President Hafez al-Assad, was described as “a rose in the desert” in a glowing article in Vogue magazine in its 2011 March edition.
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