PARIS — Hundreds of emails purportedly written by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad show he sent several sexist or irreverant messages in the months before the ongoing Syrian uprising began.
The French website owni.fr on Thursday published extracts from the latest cache of Syrian documents made avaiable by WikiLeaks, which on July 5 started releasing some 2.5 million emails it said were from Syrian political figures.
Of those emails, 538 were supposedly written by Assad himself, sent from the address firstname.lastname@example.org and mostly written before the uprising that has lasted 16 months and so far killed 17,000 people.
The emails shed little new information on the deadly crackdown but give a glimpse into Assad's puerile and slightly misogynistic mindset.
"Wife: I wish I was a newspaper, so I'd be in your hands all day," begins one of the jokes in an email dated December 23, 2010.
"Husband: I too wish that you were a newspaper, so I could have a new one everyday."
The messages were sent to close associates, his female translator or his father-in-law. Some are jokes that had already been circulated online, others are related to the news or world leaders.
Another joke contained in the same email starts with a woman asking her husband what he would give her if she climbed Mt. Everest.
"A lovely push...!" is the punchline.
WikiLeaks has said the 2,434,899 emails came from Syrian ministries including foreign affairs, finance and presidential affairs. There are around 400,000 emails in Arabic but also 68,000 in Russian.
WikiLeaks' latest publication comes amid continued wrangling among world powers about how the Syrian conflict should be tackled.
Russia and China on Thursday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria for the third time, sparking outrage by the Western nations which demanded sanctions against Assad.