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Mystery woman in Assad emails

The latest message discovered in Bashar al-Assad's email account could throw up awkward questions for Syria's president from his British-born wife Asma.

Clad in skimpy white lingerie, an unnamed woman looks over her shoulder at the camera lens, her clothes discarded on the floor around her. The photograph, discovered among thousands of emails from the personal accounts of the Syrian president and his wife, was sent to Mr Assad on December 11 last year by a woman who is not his wife.

The email contains no words and the identity of the woman is not known.

On the day Mr Assad received the photograph, his troops opened fire on a number of funeral processions in Syria, killing at least a dozen people.

Mr Assad's personal account contains dozens of emails from a Yahoo account where the sender offers advice and passes on messages from people outside Syria. While the emails deal largely with affairs of state they have a relaxed and often joking tone.

Members of the Syrian opposition believe the woman may also have a second email address under a false name which she used to send Mr Assad more intimate messages. This account appears to have been set up on December 1 last year.

Over several weeks, the exchange becomes more flirtatious. While there is no direct evidence of a sexual relationship, the revelation could prove damaging for Mr Assad, who has sought to present a united front with his British-born wife, Asma al-Assad. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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