The father-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad has defended the Syrian president's brutal crackdown on opposition forces, comparing the uprising to last summer's London riots.

Cardiologist Dr. Fawaz Akhras, whose glamorous London-born daughter Asma married Assad in 2000, has also been caught advising the regime on how to respond to graphic images such as the torture of children by Syrian government forces.

In a series of e-mails obtained by the UK's Guardian newspaper, Akhras sent dozens of messages to his son-in-law as the violence escalated, including one where he suggested the child torture footage be dismissed as British propaganda aimed at triggering a Syrian genocide, the paper reported.

When the London riots burst out and [UK Prime Minister David] Cameron said he would get the army out, now would you compare that to Homs, the London Telegraph reported Akhra as saying.

What would you do? Just watch them killing you? You have a responsibility to ensure the security of your people.

The cache of emails were sent over a nine-month period, and show how close Akhras was to his son-in-law, with many signed off by the doctor warmest x.

In one exchange, Akhras sent Assad a 13-point argument to help the regime fight international criticism.

in another, he questioned why the United Nations was so concerned with the Syrian civillian death toll, when far more had died in Libya - adding that the west was hypocritical for its harsh and inhuman attacks on the demonstrators in Wall Street and London.

The revelations will come as a disapointment to those who viewed Akhras as a moderate force in relations between the west and Syria.

Akhras founded the British-Syria foundation in 2003, which is patronized by several former ambassadors and other high ranking public oficials including former Damascus ambassador Sir Andrew Green and former Lord Mayor of London Sir Gavyn Arthur, The Week reported.