Politicans call for London-born Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad to be stripped of UK citizenship

Chloe Chaplain
Assad: The wife of the Syrian President has dual nationality

Politicians have joined calls for the First Lady of Syria to be stripped of her British citizenship after she accused the West of lying about chemical attacks on social media.

Asma al-Assad, who was born in Acton, west London, used what is believed to be official social media accounts to publish propaganda supporting her husband, President Basher al-Assad.

Many of the pictures posted depict her hugging Syrian women, helping elderly people, or playing with children and are accompanied by the hashtag #WeLoveYouAsma.

On the the day of the horrific chemical attack in the province of Idlib – which killed almost 90 people – the 41-year-old posted a picture of herself looking serene and smiling.

Serene: This picture was posted on the day of the attack in Idlib

And in response to Donald Trump’s airstrike on an airbase she wrote: “The presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic affirms that what America has done is an irresponsible act that only reflects a short-sightedness, a narrow horizon, a political and military blindness to reality and a naive pursuit of a frenzied false propaganda campaign.”

The Sunday Times reported that, on Saturday night, MPs urged the Home Office to revoke her citizenship.

Torment: Almost 90 people died in the chemical gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun (AP)

Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi told the newspaper: “The time has come where we go after [President] Assad in every which way, including people like Mrs Assad, who is very much part of the propaganda machine that is committing war crimes.”

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: “Boris Johnson has urged other countries to do more about Syria, but the British government could say to Asma al-Assad, ‘Either stop using your position to defend barbaric acts or be stripped of your citizenship’.”

Instagram: Many of the images show Mrs Assad with Syrian families (Instagram)

And Dr Haytham Alhamwi, of Rethink Rebuild Society, an advocacy group for Syrians in the UK, added: “She has assumed a direct role in promoting ideals contradictory to the British public good.”

Mrs Assad was born to Syrian parents in Acton and met the president on a trip to Damascus in 2000 after she had graduated from Kings College London.

She was due to begin an MBA at Harvard University but instead moved to Syria and married Assad. The couple have three children.

Her father, a cardiologist at Cromwell Hospital, and her mother, a retired diplomat who worked at the Syrian Embassy in London, still live in west London.

The Syrian government fiercely denied the existence of a chemical attack and questioned whether pictures of children who had been suffocated by chemicals were real or fake.

But on Sunday Boris Johnson said samples from the victims of the attack had been analysed by British scientists and were found to contain traces of Sarin or a similar substance.

He labelled President Assad a “terrorist” and warned that the attack had changed the West’s stance on Syria.

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