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Al-Qaeda chief urges outside help for Syria rebels

Ayman al-Zawahri calls on Muslims elsewhere in the Arab World to join the uprising against Syrian president Bashar Assad.

Ayman al-Zawahri pictured in a video in 2007. Al-Zawahri has issued a new video urging Muslims to assist the overthrow of Bashar Assad.
Ayman al-Zawahri pictured in a video in 2007. Al-Zawahri has issued a new video urging Muslims to assist the overthrow of Bashar Assad.
Image: AP

THE NEW HEAD of al-Qaeda has called on Muslims across the Arab World and beyond to support the rebels in Syria who are seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad, saying 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 Assad’s “pernicious, cancerous regime.”

The eight-minute video was posted on extremist websites late last night. A copy of the video was provided to AP by the SITE Intel Group, a US-based organization that monitors militant messages.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official said al-Qaeda-linked fighters already are flowing from Iraq to Syria.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorised to brief the media.

- Lara Jakes

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