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The European Union is planning to ban Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from traveling to or shopping in the EU.
The European Union plans to ban Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma from traveling to or shopping in the EU, according to Reuters.
Diplomats said the measure was designed to increase pressure on the Assad regime to end the brutal crackdown on the unrest that has been underway for more than a year.
Asma, a British-born investment banker, once projected the image of a glamorous woman with Western-inspired values. However, Reuters noted she has stood by her husband's actions through the bloody, year-long crackdown on the Syrian opposition which has left at least 8,000 people dead according to figures from the United Nations.
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The Guardian obtained emails from Syria's first couple last week, which revealed "how Assad's coterie continued to enjoy a gilded lifestyle insulated from the slaughter around them." The emails specifically showed how the couple spent tens of thousands of dollars on internet shopping sprees from Chelsea boutiques and jewelry shops in Paris. According to the Guardian, more than 50 of the emails dealt with shopping concerns in the UK.
Asma will join 114 other Syrians on the list, including her husband, as well as 38 organizations which will have their assets and bank accounts frozen in the EU, reported The Telegraph. The decision will take place at a meeting on Friday between EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
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If the travel ban went into effect, it would not prevent Asma from traveling to Britain, if she retained her British citizenship.
In her only official statement since the outbreak of violence in Syria, she said, "The president is the president of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the first lady supports him in that role," according to The Telegraph.
These sanctions will be the 13th round of sanctions applied to Syria by the EU, and are scheduled to go into effect on Saturday. Two diplomats confirmed that Assad's wife was included in the list of sanctioned individuals, according to Reuters.
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Here is a report from International Business Times on the sanctions proposed against Asma: