Asma al-Assad 'Rose in the Desert'
Syria's First Lady Asma al-Assad waves as she attends the opening ceremony for the 7th Special Olympics Middle East/North Africa (SOMENA) Regional Games in Damascus September 25, 2010. Reuters

Even as harrowing reports emerge out of Syria of the desperation of families displaced due to two years of civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his suave wife Asma are preparing to welcome a new addition to their family.

In a report published Monday, relaying comments from anonymous visitors to Syria who “sat with Assad,” Beirut-based Al-Akhbar newspaper revealed in passing that the first lady of Syria was pregnant with the couple’s fourth child.

“On the personal level, the man seems calm and in control,” said an English language online version of the article. “His confidence level stands out. Also, there’s the news of the pregnancy of his wife Asma.”

There were rumors that the first lady of Syria conceived in June, as reported by Al Bawaba, an Amman-based news site in November.

Asma, 37, became the target of crticism when a trove of her personal emails leaked in March drew the picture of a wasteful first lady out of touch with the realities in her war-ravaged homeland. As killing and mayhem ensued on the streets of her country, the emails showed the first lady arranging to buy an Armani lamp from Harrods in London, necklaces from Paris and luxurious furniture.

Asma gave up a career at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) in London and an MBA program at Harvard to start dating the second son of Syria's then-President Hafez al-Assad. The couple married in December 2000. She was described as “a rose in the desert” in a glowing article in Vogue magazine in March 2011.