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Syrian diplomat denies Assad's wife in Russia

(Xinhua)

08:55, July 20, 2012

MOSCOW, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad Thursday denied the spouse of President Bashar al-Assad has arrived in Moscow.

"This is absolutely wrong information. The wife of the president did not come to Moscow," Haddad told reporters here.

The diplomat said Asma al-Assad remained in Damascus with her husband and other family members.

Asma, married al-Assad in December 2000, was born, raised and educated in Britain. The couple has three children.

Earlier Thursday, a British newspaper reported that 36-year-old Asma had arrived in Russia while her husband was away from Damascus after Wednesday's bombing attacks, without naming sources or offering official confirmation from Syria.

The bombing in Damascus killed Syrian Defense Minister Dawood Rajha and his deputy Assef Shawkat.

Russia strongly condemned it as an "act of terror" and demanded the arrest and strict punishment of those behind it.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that Moscow considered the attack another attempt to destabilize the situation in Syria, calling on both sides to reassess the situation and seek peace.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council decided to postpone a scheduled vote on Wednesday until Thursday on a Western-backed resolution that threatens Syrian authorities with sanctions.

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