x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 September 2017

Al Qaeda head calls for fall of Assad

Ayman Al Zawahri calls on Muslims in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to join the uprising against Bashar Al Assad's "pernicious, cancerous regime."

BAGHDAD // The head of Al Qaeda is calling on Muslims across the Arab world and beyond to support rebels in Syria who are seeking to overthrow President Bashar Al Assad, and says they cannot depend on the West for help.

In a new videotaped statement, Ayman Al Zawahri calls on Muslims in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to join the uprising against Mr Al Assad's "pernicious, cancerous regime."

"There is no treatment for [the Assad regime] other than removal," Al Zawahri said in the eight-minute video posted on extremist websites, according to US-based SITE Intel Group, which monitors militant messages.

"Don't depend on the West and Turkey, which had deals, mutual understanding and sharing with this regime for decades and only began to abandon it after they saw it faltering," he said. "Instead, depend on Allah alone and then on your sacrifices, resistance, and steadfastness."

He urged Syrians to oppose help from the Arab League and "its corrupt agent governments". The League has put forth a plan to try to end violence in Syria but it suspended an observers mission to the country after the regime flouted its agreement to the terms of the plan.