Al-Qa'ida head Ayman al-Zawahri posts video call for Syrians to topple President Assad after fall of border town Qusayr

'America, its agents and allies want you to bring down the criminal Baathist regime, and then set up a government loyal to them'

Jerusalem

The head of al-Qa'ida, Ayman al-Zawahri, has called on Syrians to unite and topple President Bashar al-Assad, just a day after government captured the strategically important town of Qusayr.

In a video posted online to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of Israel, al-Zawahri accused the United States of trying to establish a client state in Syria. "Lions of the Levant, unite around this honourable goal and rise above sectarian affiliations," he said. "America, its agents and allies want you to shed your blood and the blood of your children and women to bring down the criminal Baathist regime, and then set up a government loyal to them and to safeguard Israel's security."

The intervention comes as the Syrian regime appears to be gaining the upper hand in the conflict. In recent weeks, thousands of fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, have crossed the border to flight alongside regular Syrian forces. The extra firepower helped loyalist forces capture Qusayr yesterday, Wednesday, after they had laid siege to town for weeks. Activists report that scores of civilians urgently require medical help in Qusair, that supplies of food are running short, and that only a handful of buildings have been left unscathed.

The message from al-Zawahri makes for an odd situation. While accusing the Americans of wanting to establish a client state, both Al-Qa'ida and the Americans have called for the Assad to leave office. It also pits al-Qa'ida against Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Al-Zawahri also dismissed American efforts to restart the Middle East peace process, saying that only Jihad could establish an independent Palestine. "Every free Muslim in Palestine should unite with his Muslim brothers to implement Sharia [law] and rule by it, and make it a reference above all references, and to liberate Palestine in order to set up an Islamic state, even if the West hates that and calls it terrorism and extremism," he said.

Most Palestinians and the Israelis say they are committed to John Kerry's attempt to restart talks between the two sides, and to a two-state solution. Both concede however, that time is running out to find a solution to the conflict.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory