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UK paper claims to have Assad's e-mails

[ 2012-03-16 10:46]     字号 [] [] []  
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Thousands of e-mails purported to be from the private accounts of Bashar al-Assad and his wife show the Syrian president took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, joked about his promises of reform and bypassed US sanctions to shop on iTunes, the Guardian newspaper has reported.

The newspaper said on Wednesday it got the trove of e-mails from a member of the Syrian opposition whom it does not identify. The documents are said to have been intercepted by members of the Supreme Council of the Revolution between June and early February.

There was no immediate response from Damascus.

The e-mails paint a picture of a ruling family that seems far removed from an uprising that has pushed the Arab nation to the brink of civil war. According to the Guardian, the Syrian first lady, Asma Assad, spent tens of thousands of dollars buying luxury goods online, including gold jewelry laden with gems, as well as chandeliers and furniture.

The purported e-mails also offer insight into the president's inner circle. According to the Guardian, the e-mails show that Assad has received advice from Iran. Ahead of a speech in December, Assad's media consultant said his advice to the president was based on "consultations with a good number of people in addition to the media and political adviser for the Iranian ambassador."

The memo advised Assad to use "powerful and violent" language and encouraged the regime to "leak more information related to our military capability" to convince the public that it could withstand a military challenge.

According to the purported e-mails from Assad, the president also was briefed in detail about the presence of Western journalists in the rebel-held Baba Amr district of Homs, and he was urged to "tighten the security grip" there in November, the report said.

Several foreign journalists were among the hundreds of people killed in Homs over the past year.

The Guardian published a lengthy explanation of why it believes the e-mails are genuine, saying the cache includes private information, such as family photographs and videos, a scan of the president's identity card and other details that, it said, "would be difficult for even the best-resourced hoaxer or intelligence agency to gather or fabricate".

The accounts that activists say were used by Bashar Assad and his wife "communicate regularly and in affectionate terms with the wider family and advisers, some of whose e-mail addresses are easily verified", the newspaper said. Still, the Guardian acknowledged that the verification process does not rule out the possibility that there are fake e-mails in the cache.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

UK paper claims to have Assad's e-mails

About the broadcaster:

UK paper claims to have Assad's e-mails

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.