Al Qaeda leader backs Syrian revolt against Assad

DUBAI Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:05am EST

Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahri speaks from an unknown location, in this still image taken from video uploaded on a social media website June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahri speaks from an unknown location, in this still image taken from video uploaded on a social media website June 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, in a video recording posted on the Internet on Sunday, urged Syrians not to rely on the West or Arab governments in their uprising to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

In the eight-minute video, entitled "Onwards, Lions of Syria" and posted on an Islamist website, the Egyptian-born Zawahri also urged Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to come to the aid of Syrian rebels confronting Assad's forces.

"Wounded Syria still bleeds day after day, while the butcher, son of the butcher Bashar bin Hafiz (Hafez al-Assad), is not deterred to stop," Zawahri, wearing his white turban and seated against a green curtain, said.

"But the resistance of our people in Syria despite all the pain, sacrifice and bloodshed escalates and grows," he added.

Zawahri took command of al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces in a raid in Pakistan last May.

A Muslim should help "his brothers in Syria with all that he can, with his life, money, opinion, as well as information," Zawahri says.

Syrian forces bombarded districts of the city of Homs on Saturday in a campaign to crush the revolt against Assad, whose ally Russia said it would not support an Arab League peace plan circulating at the United Nations.

Activists said seven people were killed in the latest attacks in a week-long government siege of Homs, which has been at the heart of the uprising which broke out 11 months ago.

"Our people in Syria, don't rely on the West or the United States or Arab governments and Turkey," Zawahri said in what is believed to be his second such message to Syrian protesters.

"You know better what they are planning against you. Our people in Syria, don't depend on the Arab League and its corrupt governments supporting it."

Arab foreign ministers will discuss a proposal next week to send a joint U.N.-Arab mission to Syria, after a uniquely Arab team failed to end Assad's crackdown on protests.

"If we want freedom, we must be liberated from this regime. If we want justice, we must retaliate against this regime," Zawahri said.

"Continue your revolt and anger, don't accept anything else apart from independent, respectful governments."

In July, Zawahri urged Syrian protesters to direct their movement also against Washington and Israel, denouncing the United States as insincere in showing solidarity with them.

Earlier this month, another video with Zawahri appeared on Islamist forums, announcing Somali militant group al Shabaab was joining its ranks in an apparent bid to boost morale and sharpen a threat to Western targets.

(Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Michael Roddy)

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Comments (16)
dkbaz wrote:
This makes sense, as the Syrian government is secular and socialist. Which the US and its business interests don’t want, and neither does Al Qaeda. Guess they are our ally in this now.

Feb 12, 2012 2:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
zendawg2212 wrote:
Of course do not count on the west. Solve your own problems. But if you do not at some point the western powers will intervene and stop Assad from killing civilians. The clock is ticking. Solve your problems before foreign powers must get involved to stop the killing of civilians.

Feb 12, 2012 8:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
amos033 wrote:
Reuters is about the only news service that reports the news. Good job Reuters. Don’t end up like CNN or MSNBC that only report what Obama approves of.
No suprise Al Qaeda jumped on the bandwagon. Al Qaeda is defeated and is humiliated. Syria will soon be free of Asad for it is written:

“I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the Lord.” Amos 1:5

That’s from the Holy Bible

Feb 12, 2012 8:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
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