Asma Assad, the wife of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad accuses the Western media of ignoring the plight of Syrians suffering in government-held areas. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
--STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES -- STORY: The wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday (October 18) criticized Western media coverage of the war in Syria. Speaking in English to Russia's state-backed Rossiya 24 channel, Asma Assad, a London-born former investment banker, said the humanitarian situation in Syria was 'beyond comprehension' - but that this didn't only apply to rebel-held areas. "Western media organizations have chosen to solely focus on the plight of refugees and those caught up in rebel-held areas whereas in fact the vast majority of people displaced are living across the rest of the country. And these people as much as anybody else matter," she said. She said the stories of drowned toddler Aylan Kurdi, and five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was pictured in the back of an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble in Aleppo, had been extensively covered in the Western media. But an attack by insurgents on the Alawite village of al-Zara in May, which left at least 19 civilians dead, had not attracted as much attention, she said. "Why was the fate of the children in Zara not given the same media coverage as the tragedies of Aylan and Omran?" said the 41-year-old. The village of al-Zara is about 35 km (22 miles) north of Homs and a similar distance south of Hama, an area which was among the first to be hit when Russia's air force intervened to support Assad last September. The Syrian president is from the minority Alawite sect. Many Alawites live around or in Homs and Hama, and the port city of Latakia.