The messages, thought to have been intercepted by members of the Supreme Council of the Revolution, an opposition group, between June and early February, also show how the pair shared funny YouTube videos as the killing continued in the streets.

According to the UN, more than 8000 people have been killed in Syria since the fighting began.

Among the emails is evidence that Asma al-Assad – who grew up in Acton and has British citizenship – spent tens of thousands of pounds at shops including Harrods, over the same period of time that Syrian civilians were being slaughtered. She also splashed the cash at a Paris workshop from which she ordered bespoke necklaces.

The Guardian newspaper has published an explanation of why it believes the emails are genuine.

It claimed the cache includes private information, such as family photographs and videos, a scan of the president’s identity card and other details that, it said, “would be difficult for even the best-resourced hoaxer or intelligence agency to gather or fabricate”.

The paper did, however, acknowledge that the verification process does not rule out the possibility that there are fake emails in the cache.

The emails also seem to point towards an eclectic taste in music on the behalf of Syria’s president, with tracks from New Order, Chris Brown and Right Said Fred being downloaded to his iTunes.

Image: Getty