Reuters reports: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has told the Islamist militants who are some of Syria’s toughest opposition forces to avoid alliances with other rebel fighters backed by Gulf Arab states and the West.
His comment reflects a deepening rift between groups of the Western- and Arab-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and guerrillas sympathetic to Zawahri’s ultra hardline network, which seeks to wage a transnational armed campaign against the West.
Division among rebel fighters, as well as the influence of hardline Islamists, is one reason Western powers have hesitated to intervene in Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old conflict, in which more than 100,000 people have been killed.
In an audio speech released a day after the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 strikes, Zawahri said the United States would try to push opposition fighters to link up with “secular parties that are allied to the West”, the SITE monitoring service said. [Continue reading…]