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The Syrian dictator’s wife could lose British citizenship. Is she going to be accused of war crimes?

Is it possible that the wife of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad lose her British citizenship? The decision will be made by the Metropolitan Police who is planning to accuse her of complicity in war crimes.      

In 2017 a group of British MPs and representatives of the Syrian community in the UK appealed to Theresa May’s government to deprive Asma al-Assad’s of her British citizenship. The wife of the President of Syria comes from a Sunni Syrian family who had settled in the United Kingdom. She was born in London and spent a large part of her life there. Consequently, she has dual nationality. She met her future husband in a hospital in London, where he worked as an ophthalmologist. Already at that time he was seen as a possible future president of Syria – the office which had been previously held by his father. 

Is Asma al-Assad complicit in war crimes?

The Syrian First Lady is accused of incitement to terrorist acts in Syria, praising the use of chemical weapons, or encouraging crimes against civilians. She supported the actions of the regime’s army in her public speeches and on her social media. During the civil war, the Syrian army committed, inter alia, deliberate attacks on civilians, rape and sexual violence, and even used hunger as a weapon of war. According to the UN, the Assad regime has repeatedly used chemical weapons against civilians. The investigation into the case of the Syrian First Lady began on the 10th anniversary of the Syrian Civil War. It is conducted by the officers from the War Crimes Unit.

From the Rose of the Desert she eventually  became the First Lady of Hell

Elegant, well-educated, helping the poor and the sick. She was often seen at European salons, meeting, among others, with Queen Elizabeth. Western media raved about the image of charming Asma al-Assad standing by the Syrian president’s side. In 2011, a journalist of the American edition of the fashion magazine Vogue, admiring her style and grace, called her the Rose of the Desert.

Vogue website, Feb 2011

Soon after the article was published, anti-government protests began, which turned into an open armed conflict. After some time, it turned out that the Syrian government paid to speed up the publication of the article, which was supposed to warm the image of the first lady.

Does Asma al-Assad support the regime’s criminal activities? Does she have the same views as her dictator husband? Is she intimidated by him and afraid to oppose? We do not know that. The fact is that both Asma al-Assad and her children were offered to flee Syria, with a guarantee of security (also financial).

The Syrian First Lady, however, did not accept the offer. Moreover, she almost became a press spokeswoman and an advocate for her husband’s criminal regime. Even when photos circulated around the world, showing the effects of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army on civilians in Idlib province.

With her husband, Bashar (Ricardo Stuckert/ABr / CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia commons)

Asma al-Assad is facing an international arrest warrant

What might be the consequences of the investigation against Asma al-Assad? If the police officers gather enough evidence to charge her with war crimes, not only will she be at risk of losing her British citizenship, but she will also be subject to an international arrest warrant.

Already in 2012, Asma al-Assad was included in by EU and British sanctions, which prohibited her entry into the territory of the European Union and Great Britain. Al-Assad’s parents still live in London. In 2020 sanctions were also imposed by the United States.

As a result of the civil war in Syria, more than half a million people have already died and millions of citizens have been forced to flee in search of safe refuge.


Laura Maksimowicz – journalist, associated with non-governmental organizations. She studies international relations, dealing mainly with the issues of migration and humanitarian aid. She cooperates with Salam Lab.

Sources:

1. The Guardian, Asma al-Assad risks loss of British citizenship as she faces possible terror charges.

2. Aljazeera, Syria’s Asma al-Assad faces police investigation in the UK.

3. The Times of Israel, UK police said probing Asma Assad for war crimes, could strip her of citizenship.

4. Onet, Żona Asada może stracić brytyjskie obywatelstwo,

5. Zagner A. Dlaczego Asma Asad nie ocaliła Syrii?, Polityka,

6. Mikulska D., Piękna, nowoczesna, z klasą. Poznajcie żonę rzeźnika, Holistic.News,

Main photo: Asma al-Assad in the Louvre (fot. Ammar Abd Rabbo / Flickr.com / CC BY 2.0)

Translation by Hana Meissner.

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Data wpisu do ewidencji: 17.11.2021 r.

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