Asma Assad, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's wife, reportedly expecting a baby
Syrian President Bashar Assad and First Lady Asma Assad arrive at Al-Jalaa Stadium in Damascus, June 30, 2011, to meet with regime supporters. / Getty
LONDON It would appear that the pressures of Bashar Assad's job have not prevented him from fulfilling his matrimonial duties. The dictator's wife Asma is reportedly expecting a baby.
Al-Akhbar, a newspaper run by the Islamic fundamentalist organization Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon, says Asma is pregnant. Hezbollah is a fierce ally to the Assad family, and the newspaper is viewed as a mouthpiece for his regime. The report cites anonymous "Arab visitors" to Damascus, and provides no further details on the alleged pregnancy.
The Syrian government would not confirm the report to CBS News.
In spite of the Syrian rebels' inch-by-inch advance on Assad's seat of power in Damascus, and their mounting military victories over his government forces in the north, Assad has clung to power for two years with the backing of Russia and China, which repeatedly block tough sanctions as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
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At least 60,000 people have died in the war, many of them civilians, as Assad's army unleashes the full extent of its conventional arsenal on densely populated cities across the nation.
Asma, 36, had been a hugely popular, British-born fashion icon of the Arab world -- until she stood loyally by her husband as he laid waste to entire neighborhoods and blamed the violence on "terrorists" and foreign governments.
The Assads already have two children.
There has been at least one other report, in summer 2012, suggesting Asma was pregnant. That story was not published by Al-Akhbar, however, which has close ties to the regime and would possibly even have had its report approved by the Assad family.
The report on Al-Akhbar's website only mentions Asma's alleged pregnancy in passing, as evidence of just how normal life still is for the Assads.
Nations gather to help Syrian opposition
According to the U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, however, Assad's days in power are numbered.
"The opposition is actually making steady advances," Ford told CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward. "Two weeks ago, the regime lost its largest air base. There is fighting in the capital. The regime is little by little, steadily losing its grip on the country."
If she is pregnant, it's very unclear what sort of Syria Asma's baby will be born into.
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