Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat – A well-informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Bushra al-Assad – the sister of the Syrian President and widow of General Assef Shawkat – has been residing in the UAE for the past 10 days. The source indicated that she is present in the country along with her five children, whilst there has been no official clarification from UAE authorities whether she is present in the country or not.
According to information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, Bushra al-Assad – who is a pharmacist – and her five children have temporarily relocated to the UAE, where she used to live with her husband. The source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the reason behind this move is that it is the beginning of the school year and it would be difficult or impossible for her children to go to school safely [in Syria] at a time when their uncle Bashar al-Assad is waging a bloody war against his own people. Bushra al-Assad previously lived in the UAE for about one year, residing close to the French Embassy in Abu Dhabi, whilst her children attended a French school nearby, according to the “all4syria.info” website.
Bushra al-Assad, who married Assef Shawkat in 1995, has five children; twins and triplets. Lebanon’s Addiyar newspaper, which has ties to the al-Assad regime and is printed in one of the state-run printing houses in Syria, previously indicated that Bushra would be moving to Abu Dhabi where her children can be enrolled in school, particularly as they are still young.
The newspaper also pointed out that some expect Bushra al-Assad to issue political statements [from the UAE], and that she will try to play a political role at the domestic and regional level by giving interviews, issuing comments and holding press conferences in support of the al-Assad regime. Addiyar claimed that Bushra al-Assad would seek to adhere to and promote the stances of her late husband Assef Shawkat, who died in the bombing of the National Security headquarters in Damascus a few months ago, along with several key security figures in the Syrian regime.
An informed Syrian source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, categorically denied that Bushra al-Assad has defected from the regime, stating there was no need for her to do so. The source reiterated that the sole reason she was relocating to the UAE was to enroll her children at a school so that they do not miss out on the school year.
This is not the first time that reports have spread claiming that Bushra al-Assad has “defected” from Syria. Despite the absence of any official comment on this news, several opposition sources have confirmed that Bushra al-Assad has left Syria and settled in the UAE, specifically in Abu Dhabi, where she has enrolled her children at a French school.