Syria: Asma Assad Banned From EU Travel, But 'Can Still Come To Britain'

Posted: 23/03/2012 10:57 Updated: 23/03/2012 12:33

The wife of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is banned from travelling to the European Union, after being added to a list of "undesirables."

However it is believed will still be able to visit the United Kingdom as she is believed to hold British citizenship.

Asma Assad is to also have her assets in the EU frozen as the international community attempts to increase the pressure on the Syrian regime following its brutal crackdown on anti-government protests. The decision was taken following talks in Brussels which included Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The Syrian leader's wife, 36, was born in Acton, west London and married Assad in 2000, the year he succeeded his father as president of the Middle Eastern country.

Asma is the daughter of Syrian parents, both from Homs, which is now the scene of some of the most vicious fighting between anti-Assad revolutionaries and government troops.

The Syrian dictator's mother, sister and sister-in-law are also expected to be blacklisted when EU ministers meet.

The UN estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed since the uprising began a year ago.

Foreign secretary William Hague said it was very important to increase pressure on the Syrian regime."Their behaviour continues to be murdering and totally unacceptable in the eyes of the world," he said on his way into the meeting.

The travel bans follows an astonishing leak to the Guardian of personal Assad family emails in which Asma claimed to be "the real dictator" in the family.

More than 3,000 private messages, released by activists showed an bizarre disconnect between the ruling family and the violence taking place on Syrian streets.

In the one of the emails uncovered, Asma Assad offers no sympathy for the civilians who have died after bloody 12-month crackdown on anti-government protesters.

"As for listening – I am the REAL dictator, he has no choice," she wrote to a friend on 14 December, referring to perceptions of her husband, Bashar al-Assad.

In an email sent on 10 January she welcomed a speech by the president for its "no more messing around" attitude.

She also forwarded a joke email making fun of people from Homs, just before the government launched a four-week mortar assault on the city which left hundreds dead.

In another message to her husband Asma al-Assad said: "So cute, I miss youuuuuuu" and attached a photo of him forwarded by one of his aides.

The Guardian also revealed messages in which she discussed purchasing shoes worth several thousand pounds with friends.

In another more sinister email sent from an iPad Asma forwarded her husband a link to a report on the violence in Homs by BBC reporter Paul Wood, exclaiming that he had been "smuggled" into the city.

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Filed by Ned Simons  |