Speed Reads

Crisis in Syria

Syrian first lady says despite offers to leave, she refuses to 'run from Syria'

In a rare interview, Syria's first lady said she was given the opportunity to "run from Syria" with her three children, but refuses to leave her husband behind.

"..تضحيات الشهداء والجرحى والأمهات الثكالى وكلّ من قدّم دماً.. ليحمي وطنه.. أمانة كبيرة وجسيمة، فلنحملها جميعاً ولنكن على قدرها." الرئيس #الأسد 2016 مريم ابنة الشهيد حسين محمد، الوحيد لأهله، مع السيدة #أسماء_الأسد. #الأمانة_بأمان #SyrianPresidency #Syria #Asma #Assad #Martyrs #Hero #Brave

A photo posted by Syrian Presidency (@syrianpresidency) on Aug 25, 2016 at 12:10pm PDT

The Syrian civil war has been raging for five years, and Asma al-Assad, 41, told a Russian television network that no amount of protection or financial security was enough to get her to go anywhere without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "It doesn't take a genius to know what these people were really after," she said. "It was never about my well-being or my children. It was a deliberate attempt to shatter people's confidence in their president."

Asma was born in Britain, and before marrying in 2000, was an investment banker at JP Morgan. She often appears on the Syrian Presidency's Instagram, with photos showing her hugging the elderly, meeting children, and attending graduation ceremonies at Damascus University. While some comments are supportive of the Assad family, many are negative, with users calling Bashar al-Assad a "murderer" and others calling Asma fake.