New Al-Qaeda chief lauds Syrian protesters

Thursday 28 Jul 2011

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman El-Zawahiri commends the Syrian uprising, says the US will seek to replace Assad with another who protects its interests in the region

This photo purports to show Al-Qaida's new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a still image from a web posting by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, Wednesday, (AP).

Al-Qaeda's new leader has lauded protesters in Syria for seeking to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.

In a video message posted on extremist websites Wednesday, Ayman El-Zawahiri also alleges that Washington seeks to replace Assad with a leader who protects American and Israeli interests.

El-Zawahiri was named Al-Qaeda's new leader after U.S. commandos killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan on 2 May.

He seeks to portray the Syrian uprising as an Islamic battle against Western interests in the Middle East. Syrian activists say religion has played little role in their uprising to topple Assad.

Al-Qaeda has previously tried to associate itself with the protesters that ousted autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt.

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