A cache of e-mails leaked to CNN is giving extraordinary insight into the life of Syria's first family during the regime's move to crush a now-year-long civilian uprising.
The e-mails were obtained by CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" from a source in the region after the e-mail accounts were hacked. They appear to show a family often occupied with YouTube videos and shopping while the brutal crackdown continued, and they also apparently reveal some of Iran's influence over Syria's president.
Just before Bashar al-Assad delivered a speech January 10, an aide apparently e-mailed him, saying a political adviser to the Iranian ambassador encourages Assad to use "strong and violent" language.
In that speech, al-Assad then promises to strike the opposition with an "iron fist."
There are also e-mails from a man named Hosein Mortada, who - according to his Facebook page - is the Damascus bureau chief for two Iranian news networks. Mortada twice offers advice to the president's aide, who passes it on to Assad.
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