Monday, December 9

Moscow dismisses Assad wife refuge rumours

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MOSCOW: Russia yesterday dismissed as “rumours” speculation on the Internet that the wife of President Bashar al-Assad had taken refuge in the country amid the escalating violence in Syria.

Asma al-Assad has not been seen recently in public in Syria, giving rise to speculation, which started on the micro-blogging service Twitter, that she may have sought refuge in Syria’s remaining ally Russia.

“I would prefer not to comment on rumours,” Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.

“I think that this is a bad-natured informational trap and I advise you not to fall into it.”

He also ridiculed the notion that Bashar al-Assad was in Russia, noting that the Syrian leader had been seen on state television meeting the new defence minister whose predecessor was killed in this week’s Damascus blast. — AFP