Assad mystery lover to get PhD from UK varsity

A Syrian woman, said to be the mystery lover of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, will soon get a doctorate from a top university in Britain, according to emails released by WikiLeaks.

Updated: Jul 08, 2012, 19:10 PM IST

London: A Syrian woman, said to be the mystery lover of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, will soon get a doctorate from a top university in Britain, according to emails released by WikiLeaks.

Lamis Omar, believed to be in her mid-30s, has been working in Assad`s own department, known as the "ministry of presidential affairs", the Daily Mail reported. Omar`s official role was to translate Assad`s speeches into English.

She has been studying for a doctorate at Durham University, and is likely to receive her PhD in September. Her thesis is on Shakespeare.

In more than 800 email exchanges between Omar and Assad obtained by the WikiLeaks, "a picture emerges of a world of poetry and jokes", the daily said.
They appear to have a "close friendship", in which he buys her gifts and she repeatedly says that she "loves" him.

Assad has been married to 37-year-old British-born Asma for 12 years.

In the emails, Omar refers to Assad as the "sponsor" of her course.

Fellow students say she also has a large picture of Assad on the wall of her home in the university grounds.

Officials at the university have refused to say whether the institution accepted money from the Assad regime in tuition fees.

Tory MP Robert Halfon said questions need to be asked as to why the university was providing education to a member of the Assad regime.

The emails were among 2.5 million such documents obtained by WikiLeaks.

Most of them were written by Syrian officials and politicians, as well as Assad himself.

Durham University said it cannot comment on financial circumstances of individual students, but that it does not have any formal links with the Syrian government.

IANS