Syria's first lady says she has turned down multiple offers to leave the war-stricken country, stressing that she did not want people to lose their trust in her husband, President Bashr al-Assad.
Asma al-Assad made the remarks in an interview with the Moscow-based Russia-24 news channel aired on Tuesday. It was her first interview with international media since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.
"I never thought of being anywhere else at all. ... Yes, I was offered the opportunity to leave Syria, or rather to run from Syria," Assad said, adding, "These offers included guarantees of safety and protection for my children, and even financial security."
The 41-year-old British-born also noted that the proposals were not about her well-being or her children, but rather “a deliberate attempt to shatter people's confidence in their president.”
Assad further pointed out that those who made the "foolish" offers were not Syrians.
The mother-of-three former investment banker has styled herself as a rights campaigner.
Since March 2011, Syria has been hit by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies.
The countries fueling violence in the Middle Eastern country have sought the ouster of President Assad, but Damascus has repeatedly said that only Syrian people can decide their own future.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura have put the death toll from the Syria conflict at more than 300,000 and 400,000, respectively. This is while the UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.