The Syrian opposition group, "Supreme Council of the Revolution," has intercepted thousands of documents and emails from Bashar Assad's family and inner circle. Though we can't be 100% certain, The Guardian has done its best to verify the documents and, in their estimation, they are authentic.
The documents paint a picture of a family that both takes advice from Iran (not really a shock), and is completely apathetic to the atrocities the country is perpetuating.
On the first anniversary of an uprising that has resulted in more than 8,000 deaths, The Guardian reports:
As the world watched in horror at the brutal suppression of protests across the country and many Syrians faced food shortages and other hardships, Mrs Assad spent more than £10,000 on candlesticks, tables and chandeliers from Paris and instructed an aide to order a fondue set from Amazon.
[Furthermore,] Assad sidestepped extensive US sanctions against him by using a third party with a US address to make purchases of music and apps from Apple's iTunes.
Activists gained access to Assad's email after they were given the username and password by a mole within the President's inner circle. They utilized the uncensored stream of information for several months, even warning colleagues of Assad's plans against them, until Anonymous separately hacked into several Syrian government websites and all communication from the account stopped.
The emails also reveal that Mrs. Assad was in close contact with Mayassa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar's daughter. After saying that her father still considers Bashar a close friend, al-Thani wrote on January 30:
Just been following the latest developments in Syria … in all honesty – looking at the tide of history and the escalation of recent events – we've seen two results – leaders stepping down and getting political asylum or leaders being brutally attacked. I honestly think this is a good opportunity to leave and re-start a normal life.
I only pray that you will convince the president to take this an opportunity to exit without having to face charges. The region needs to stabilize, but not more than you need peace of mind. I am sure you have many places to turn to, including Doha [Qatar].
Last, the emails show that Assad took advice from the Iranians regarding how to position himself during the revolution:
In the composed memorandum, Assad was advised to stress the issue of Muslim identity through the use of Koran quotes, as well as centering on what the email called 'Syria's principles,' which included: 'Resistance'; 'Hostility to Israel, the first enemy of the Muslims'; and 'Protection of Palestinian people's rights (real prayers should be in the direction of Jerusalem).'
'Maybe here the president can reiterate his stance by condemning forcefully the recent Israeli practices and policies to Judaise Al-Quds (Jerusalem),' the email added, saying that Assad should use 'powerful and violent' language in his opposition to Israel.
Many will find it interesting that he cares so much about rights of the Palestinians, while civilians are being slaughtered by his troops within his own country.
The trove of emails probably won't be a game-changer in the Syrian revolution, but it sure paints an interesting picture of the family behind it.