The head of al-Qaida is calling on Muslims across the Arab world and beyond to support rebels in Syria who are seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad, and says 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 8-minute video was posted on extremist websites late Saturday. A copy of the video was provided Sunday by the SITE Intel Group, a U.S.-based organization that monitors militant messages.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official says al-Qaida-linked fighters already are flowing from Iraq to Syria.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to brief the media.
On Saturday, U.S. publication McClatchy cited U.S. officials as saying that al-Qaida's branch in Iraq carried out two recent terrorist attacks in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and was likely responsible for the bombings in Aleppo on Friday that killed at least 28 people.
U.S. intelligence reports were said to show that the Syria bombings were ordered by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, seemingly verifying Syrian President Bashar Assad's assertions of al-Qaida involvement in the uprising in Syria.
The two Aleppo bombings on Friday were the worst attack to hit the country's commercial hub during the revolt against the Assads' 42-year dynastic rule.
No one claimed responsibility for the Aleppo bombings but they took place as Assad's forces grow more ferocious in operations to crush the uprising. Some opposition figures accused the government of manipulating events to discredit them.
Earlier Sunday, Saudi state news agency SPA cited an official at the country's foreign ministry denying reports that Saudi Arabia formally presented a new resolution on Syria to the United Nations General Assembly.
"No provision of any draft resolution on behalf of the Kingdom has been presented to the General Assembly," he told SPA.
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