According to a report published Friday by the British Telegraph, a picture of a woman sprawling against a wall wearing only a bra was sent to the president's private email. The woman's identity was unknown, but the Telegraph claimed the sender was not Assad's wife, Asma.
- Syria marks one year to uprising
UK paper claims to have Assad's emails
The provocative image was sent on December 11 by the anonymous women, but did not contain any message. On the same day, the Syrian army reportedly opened fire on a number of funeral processions throughout the country, killing at least 12 people.
Opposition sources claimed that the woman sent Assad intimate messages from other email addresses. One such email contained the word "Hi," to which Assad replied only 18 minutes later: "Hi and a half."
Mystery women wrote Assad: 'I love you'
The Telegraph report also said that the Syrian president and his online flirt continued to exchange messages for several weeks, sending each other music clips by Lebanese singer Fairuz. On January 17 Assad received an email saying: "I love you," and a week later another message with the letter "x" – symbolizing a kiss.
Marriage showing cracks?
The British newspaper claimed that though there was no evidence proving the two had a sexual relationship, the emails reveal cracks in the presidential couple's marriage, especially at a time when the two are attempting to display a united front in the face of growing international scrutiny.
Asma and Bashar in better times (Photo: AFP)
According to previous reports, Assad's wife, Asma, also wrote emails to her husband on a regular basis. On December 28 she sent a message in which she commented on the deteriorating situation in Syria. "If we're strong together, we will overcome together. I love you," the first lady wrote.
Assad's private emails also reveal how sources close to the president tried to divert attention from the killing of civilians in Syria by exploiting the ongoing tension between Israel and Gaza Strip groups.
One email sent to Assad's public relations adviser on December 9, 2011 by a man identified as Husam advised to instruct the Foreign Ministry to issue a condemnation against Israel, following "the latest round of Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip."
The adviser forwarded the email to the president, along with the following message: "The goal of such a move would be to harp on the feelings of Muslims inside Syria and abroad, as well as embarrass officials in Islamic Jihad and Hamas, who refuse to take a firm stand vis-à-vis the crisis in Syria."
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