05/09/2013 10:41 BST | Updated 05/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Asma Al-Assad, Syrian President Bashar's Wife Uses Instagram To Showcase Charity Work (PICTURES)

On her knees, clasping the hand of a tiny child, proffering a doll to another, Basma Al-Assad wants you to know she's all about the kiddies and the needy - while her husband wages a bloody civil war in their homeland of Syria.

Indeed the very refugees she is seen feeding and cuddling are likely to be ones displaced by her husband's regime, but there she is, head cocked to one side, dishing out food and listening benevolently.

The images were published on the official Syrian Presidency Instagram account and show a "business as usual" attitude in the wake of alleged deadly chemical attacks by Bashar Al-Assad.

Asma Al-Assad proffers a doll to a child in a snap posted on the official Syrian Presidency Instagram account

In some shots taken in August, this "woman of the people" serves food at a shelter - whilst wearing a $129 activity tracking bracelet which keeps track of how many steps she takes, calories she burns, hours she sleeps and what food she eats.

Unsurprisingly, Assad's charm offensive is being met with a healthy dose of scepticism.

One Instagram user wrote: "Seriously, u make Marie Antoinette look like an angel compared to you!"

The wife of the Syrian president dishes up food to the needy - while carefully monitoring her own calorie intake with a $129 fitness bracelet

It seemed a prescient statement to make when earlier this week it emerged Assad was continuing to embark on regular luxury spending sprees as her country collapses around her.

The London-born mother-of-three recently splashed out on Bohemian-style crystal chandeliers from Prague.

Meanwhile more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011 and near 2 million Syrians have been forced to flee the country.

Ayman Abdel Nour, a former Assad adviser, told the Express: "She has no heart. She is obsessed by how beautiful and chic she looks. She continues to live a life of utter luxury. That's all that matters to her."

Assad had at first been viewed as "the more reasonable, the kinder, gentler face of a brutal regime," Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told Today.

Meanwhile, violent clashes between Free Syrian army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria continue

But he added: "Over time as the regime has got worse, she was seen as someone who had thrown her lot in with President Assad."

In February last year, Vogue was widely criticised for a glowing profile of Assad entitled A Rose in the Desert (which has since been scrubbed from the internet).

Though author Joan Juliet Buck described Assad as "as friendly as a new acquaintance at a friend's cocktail party" she later backpedalled on the fawning review, claiming she had been "duped".

To her credit though, Buck did reveal how on a visit to a youth centre, Assad brought the children to tears when she falsely told them the place was closing.

Assad told Buck the stunt was "just to get them out of their comfort zone."

Photo gallery Basma Al-Assad Instagram See Gallery