17:15 GMT +315 November 2018
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    Poster bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad

    Bashar Assad's Relatives Reportedly Refused UK Citizenship

    © AFP 2018 / LOUAI BESHARA
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    The UK Foreign Office has reportedly warned that granting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's relatives citizenship "would be interpreted as a softening stance towards the regime.”

    The British government has refused to grant Bashar Assad’s aunt and three cousins UK citizenship, The Daily Mail reported.

    READ MORE: UK Ex-Diplomats, Lawmakers Warn PM May Against Toppling Assad, Supporting Rebels

    According to the media outlet, citing a judgment it has seen, the family members challenged the decision at a secret immigration tribunal, but the Special Immigration Appeals Commission responded negatively to the appeal.

    The judges reportedly said that they didn’t know how close they were to Assad, but maintained that if they were granted citizenship, it would undermine the UK’s image.

    The Daily Mail then claimed that the Foreign Office had warned the Home Office that allowing Bashar Assad’s relatives citizenship “would be interpreted as a softening stance towards the regime and of faltering commitment to the opposition.”

    Last year, UK parliament members called on the Home Office to strip Bashar Assad’s London-born wife, Asma, of her citizenship, accusing her of being part of Syria’s "propaganda machine."

    Tags:
    citizenship, immigration, UK Home Office, UK Foreign Office, Asma Assad, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United Kingdom
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