Financial TimesFinancial Times

Syria’s state capture: The rising influence of Mrs Assad

By Raya Jalabi

02 Apr 2023 · 13 min read

Editor's Note

Asma al-Assad has risen to become one of the most powerful people in Syria, and her fingerprints can be detected across multiple sectors of the country’s economy, according to this FT investigation.

When Bashar al-Assad visited Abu Dhabi on March 19, it was seen as the latest sign that the Syrian dictator is quietly being rehabilitated by his peers in the region.

But the trip was especially noteworthy for the fact that he was accompanied by his wife, Asma al-Assad. Dressed head to toe in white, Syria’s enigmatic first lady stood out on her first known trip abroad since the outbreak of war over a decade ago.

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