Wife of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Asmaa, has ignited a fierce debate among Syrians worldwide after an image of her in a black T-shirt with the phrase “You my beautiful country” in Arabic was published.
According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Siyaasa, the photograph has caused indignation amongst Syrian expatriates who have derided her for her insensitivity at a time when the death toll continues to mount and stands at an estimated 15,000, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The image of Mrs. Assad also received harsh comments on social media forums, with some asking if Syria was still beautiful in the eyes of the First Lady “given all the bloodshed.” Others commented on how the image was akin to “needling Syrians.”
According to French newspaper Le Monde images of Mrs. Assad in the same T-shirt have been published in Le Journal du Dimanche as well as the German newspaper Bild.
The photos of the First Lady were taken on Wednesday June 20 in Damascus during the training of the Syrian badminton team for the London Olympics, according to Le Journal du Dimanche. Asmaa wore blue jeans and stood barefoot on the court.
The First Lady has come under scathing attack for her expensive online shopping habits during the crisis, details of which were printed by Al Arabiya earlier this year after it published leaked emails of the Assads.
(Translated from Arabic by Sarah Sfeir)