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 US 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 said.