Damascus, Syria — The al-Qaeda central command leader and successor to Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri, issued new orders in a new audio recording Sunday calling on the group’s fighters to be prepared for a long battle with the Western-led coalition in Iraq and Syria. He also told them to fight the Iranian-backed Shi’ites fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s government.
In an audio recording posted online on Sunday, Zawahri called for the rebels to be patient, saying they should be prepared for a long battle with the Western-led coalition in Iraq and Syria and Iranian-backed Shi’ites fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s government. Zawahiri made this statement in the audio recording saying that “Our people (al-Qaeda affiliated terror groups) in Sham (Syria) prepare yourselves for a long battle with the Crusaders and their allies the Shi’ites and Alawites.” Muslim Sunni militants consider Shi’ites and Alawites heretics.
Zawahri said jihadists were targeted by their enemies because they sought to impose Islamic rule in Syria, adding that the West and its allies were doing everything they could to prevent an “Islamic” wave that was sweeping the region. Syria’s former al-Qaeda branch al-Nusra Front now spearheads an alliance of Islamist brigades known as Hayat Tahrir al Sham which is leading battles against Syrian government forces and their Russian and Iranian backed allies on most of the main fronts in the country. This alliance plays a key role in the control of most of Idlib province, although U.S. led coalition strikes have killed dozens of its leaders in recent months.
This article and feature image is courtesy of Reuters