Syria’s first lady has said she rejected a deal to offer her safe passage out of the war-torn nation in order to stay by her husband’s side.
Asma al-Assad revealed she believed those offering her a new home were trying to undermine her husband Bashar’s presidency.
In an interview with Russian state-backed television, she refused to say who made the offer.
Mrs Assad also thanked Russia for its “noble efforts” supporting the regime.
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Mrs Assad, whose social media pages are filled with pictures of her meeting orphans and the injured, told Rossiya 24: “I’ve been here since the beginning and I never thought of being anywhere else at all.
“Yes I was offered the opportunity to leave Syria or rather to run from Syria. These offers included guarantees of safety and protection for my children and even financial security.
“It doesn’t take a genius to know what these people were really after. It was a deliberate attempt to shatter people’s confidence in their president.”
The former investment banker, who was born in London, has been Syria’s first lady since 2000, after Mr Assad took over the presidency from his father Hafez, who had ruled since 1971.
The Syrian civil war began after pro-democracy campaigners demanding that Mr Assad step aside took to the streets in March 2011, and were violently repressed by the authorities.
The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, estimated earlier this year as many as 400,000 people have died in the ensuing violence.
Syria First Lady Asma Al-Assad ‘rejected offer of asylum’