Bashar Assad’s wife Asma granted her first interview in eight years to the Rossiya 24 news channel of Russia, as transcribed by RT.com. In the interview, she blamed Western powers for prolonging the Syrian civil war, laid responsibility for the human carnage at their feet, and accused Western media of hyping tragedies that are politically harmful to her husband.
As RT.com makes clear, probably inadvertently, Rossiya led Asma Assad into these accusations by asking loaded questions about why some humanitarian tragedies in Syria receive more international news coverage than others.
She then groused about the saturation coverage given to the death of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee whose drowned body became a global media symbol of the refugee crisis, and the injured boy Omran Daqneesh, who has become the face of civilian suffering in Aleppo.
Asma Assad tried to portray her husband’s regime as the guardian of all Syrian children:
The western media decided to focus on these tragedies because it suited their media agenda. It is actually the West dividing our children in this conflict according to the political beliefs of their parents. Aylan was a Syrian child irrespective of what his parents believed as was Omran and the other innocent children in the Zara village massacre.
These are all children, they are all innocent children and they are all a loss to Syria irrespective of which side of the conflict we support. And as a Syrian, I am personally saddened by the loss of every single child, whether it is Aylan or Omran or the many, many others, whose names did not reach western headlines.
“Ultimately, humanitarian aid should not be determined by geography, political orientation or religious beliefs. It cannot be allowed to be driven by political agendas,” she added.
The BBC reports that Asma Assad claimed to have been offered political asylum by an unnamed country in the interview, but she refused because she wanted to remain by her husband’s side. She accused those who offered her asylum of attempting to undermine the Assad presidency:
Yes I was offered the opportunity to leave Syria or rather to run from Syria. These offers included guarantees of safety and protection for my children and even financial security.
It doesn’t take a genius to know what these people were really after. It was a deliberate attempt to shatter people’s confidence in their president.
The Syrian First Lady, who was a London-born investment banker before marrying Bashar Assad in 2000, made a point of thanking Russia for its “noble efforts” in support of her husband’s regime.