Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife, Asma, told a friend that she was the "real dictator" in the family, a trove of e-mails received and sent by her and Assad have revealed.
In an email to a family friend on January 10, Asma praised a speech Assad gave for conveying a sense of being "very strong, no more messing around".
On January 17, she circulated an email cracking a joke at the expense of the people of Homs, shortly before a regime onslaught that would claim hundreds of lives.
According to The Telegraph, Asma received from her husband an email with the subject line "Student who obtained zero percent on an exam".
It contained one of those lists of jokes that circulate widely on the Internet, in the form of questions with silly answers. The first was, 'In which battle did Napoleon die? - His last battle'.
The next day she forwarded the email to her father and two other family members with the changed subject line, 'A really bright Homsi student!'
Asma's 'dictator' comment was made partly in jest during an exchange with a friend on December 14 about how much attention spouses typically pay to each other.
"As for listening - I am the REAL dictator, he has no choice ..." she wrote.
According to the paper, despite the ambitions she expressed for liberalising Syria before the uprising, Asma displayed no misgivings about the regime's bloody crackdown.
The trove of 3,000 emails came from the private accounts of Asma and Bashar Assad and was passed by opposition activists to various media outlets.
They also revealed that Asma spent tens of thousands of pounds on lavish accessories as Assad's regime continued its crackdown on hundreds of pro-democracy protestors.
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