Syrian opposition refuses al-Qaeda involvement in their peaceful revolution

Syrian opposition leaders called al-Zawahiri's statement of support "flagrant interference" with the peaceful nature of their protests. [He New/Reuters]

Syrian opposition leaders called al-Zawahiri's statement of support "flagrant interference" with the peaceful nature of their protests. [He New/Reuters]

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Recent remarks by Ayman al-Zawahiri, expressing the new al-Qaeda leader's desire to join the ranks of demonstrators against the Syrian regime, sparked indignation and condemnation among Syrian opposition figures.

In particular, youth opposition members rejected the transformation of their revolution into a violent or sectarian movement.

Al-Zawahiri declared his support for the "rebels of Syria" in a videotape posted on Islamist websites on Wednesday (July 27th) though it is thought to have been produced this past June.

In the seven-minute video, entitled "The Glory of the East Starts from Damascus", al-Zawahiri praised demonstrators in Syria and said to them, "With your bare chests you faced tank shells, artillery and helicopters."

In his message, al-Zawahiri regretted being unable, with other al-Qaeda fighters, "to join the Syrians demonstrating against the regime of President Bashar Assad."

"God knows that I and my brothers would be among you and with you and we would defend you with our lives, and we would protect you with our chests if the war in which we are fighting the new crusaders was not raging," he said.

However, only hours after the video was broadcast on the internet, one of the largest Syrian youth groups involved in the revolution issued a statement condemning al-Qaeda's flagrant interference in the affairs of the Syrian revolution, parts of which were read to Al-Shorfa by its Lebanon-based Co-ordinator-General, Omar Edelbi.

"The Local Co-ordinating Committees of Syria condemn the statement by the head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and his intervention in the affairs of the Syrian revolution at a time when the Syrian regime is conducting a campaign of fierce repression targeting entire neighbourhoods in Damascus and all of its countryside, in addition to the occupation and siege of uprising cities," he said.

Edelbi described al-Zawahiri’s statement as "an attempt by him to suggest that al-Qaeda has a presence in Syria." He added, "This fact alone would incite international public opinion against the youth revolution in Syria, which could give the repressive regime in Syria an excuse and cover for escalating its security and criminal campaign against the free [people] of Syria."

He continued, "We condemn such comments, which bear no relation whatsoever to the revolution and its goals. It is our position and we will not abandon it."

Edelbi cited the Arab spring, which proved the ability of young people to peacefully topple regimes in both Tunisia and Egypt without al-Qaeda participation and its violent methods. "We insist on continuing the march of our revolution in the peaceful line that we have adopted since the beginning. Accordingly, we reject any attempts to turn it into a violent or sectarian movement."

Opposition youth activist Rami Nakhleh said that the head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is absolutely unwelcome in their peaceful revolution.

"Our uprising and demonstrations are peaceful, and the methods of our struggle as well as our goals in this revolution are completely different from the methods and goals of al-Zawahiri and his organisation," Nakhleh told Al-Shorfa, "We are seeking, through our demonstrations and our revolution, to achieve democracy in its true sense, and with peaceful means."

He added, "There is no cause that joins us with al-Zawahiri."

According to political analyst and journalist Hazem al-Amin, al-Zawahiri's words are of no value.

"The attempt by the leader of al-Qaeda came too late, and he is seeking through what he said to ride the wave of the Arab street, which moved past al-Qaeda," al-Amin told Al-Shorfa.

"Al-Qaeda is currently experiencing a big dilemma, namely the Arab revolutions, which produced an alternative discourse to the discourse of crisis posed by al-Qaeda," he added. "The name of this discourse is the Arab spring, and it focuses on peaceful action removed from methods of violence, while al-Qaeda is outside of it."

Al-Amin said, "In the end, al-Zawahiri’s words are of no value and have no reverberations, even in the Syrian street itself."

He added that this talk is creating suspicion in the Syrian street toward al-Qaeda and its objective vis-à-vis the revolution, stressing that the speech "disrupts and hinders the peaceful revolution".

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  • READER COMMENTS

    علي البلوشي

    2012-7-30

    I love the Syrian people.

  • موسى الناصري

    2012-7-27

    We are not saying that the regime of Assad is the best to rule Syria, but ye, who call yourselves rebels, will regret your actions. This is because your so-called revolution is exported by the Saudi and Qatari regimes and their Israeli and Western allies. They made you slaves to their desires and they want you to get trapped in a sectarian war that will wipe out everything. You still have a chance, so be careful about your actions before you get involved in crimes.

  • ام سلام

    2012-7-23

    The al-Qaeda organization exists among you, youth of Syria. This rotten organization will mislead Syria, the Syrian youth and the future of Syria. Syria will not have a spring as long as al-Qaeda resides among you. Do you know that Bashar al-Assad is more merciful and more honest than the most honest one in al-Qaeda?

  • سنام الحرباوي

    2012-7-20

    To the so-called opposition, you have ruined Syria, and you kill innocent people. You are sectarian, and this is an attitude that was unknown in Syria. May god and his prophet’s curse you.

  • محمود عبد السلام

    2011-8-23

    Stay where you are and leave the Arab peoples deepening the power of all of their children. Every state takes its children to confront the other merciless countries that can violate anything, as long as it would archive its interests, irrespective of the bloodshed that may take place as collateral damage. Anyway, everyone has his day.

  • معين

    2011-8-20

    What is happening in Syria is a popular revolution. America and the whole world have realized this truth. Therefore, everyone will respect the will of the Syrian revolutionary people, who took it upon themselves to bring down the dictatorship and to remove this nightmare from the conscience of the nation. The Syrian people will say their final word this week and the tyrants will run away like rats.

  • صقرالعتابي

    2011-8-20

    Syria remains in the hands of Syrians; not in the hands of the Assad family; it is not in the hands of Bashar, or Maher, or Makhluf. Yes, it is in the hands of Syrians. I advise you to get out of the electronic army center and take a tour of Syria’s governorates, so that you can find out who Syrians are. The majority of Syrian people all over Syria don’t want Bashar. That is why Bashar will leave, and those who have connected their fate with his will leave as well. More determination, O great people, will take you to your rights. Million-man marches will be back, God willing, in spite of tanks and the thugs’ guns that burdened their shoulders. These marches will soon bring down the thugs’ regime and those who support it.

  • nasserelshaar

    2011-8-20

    The Syrian army must realize that Bashar Al-Assad has sent you to the dunghill of history. It is shameful for you to shoot your people while Golan is still under occupation. Look how the great Egyptian and Tunisian armies protected the revolution of the peoples. That is because the peoples are always right and they revolt against oppression and corruption. The old guard has deceived Bashar and made him the president of Syria, while they are the actual rulers. Fear God and join the great Syrian people.

  • سعيد الدليمي

    2011-8-20

    Why does the Syrian opposition seek foreign protection against its compatriot, even if he is bad? Is it not true that obedience to the ruler, even if he is unjust, is a religious duty, because his presence is better than chaos? Do the opposition forces realize to what destination they are taking Syria? You are taking it to the abyss and to weakness, and this serves the objectives of Israel and the West, which wants to weaken your country to be like Iraq. Please, try to learn the lesson and wake up before it is too late. Enter into negotiations with the state to enjoy peace and security in Syria before we see the Iraqi disaster taking place in Syria.

  • absnt

    2011-8-19

    Peace be upon you…. All praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds and may peace and blessings be upon the seal prophet and messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and upon his companions and followers until the Day of Judgment. The Arab or scandalous revolutions first erupted in the green Tunisia that turned yellow. Then, it went through Egypt, the mother of the world, and turned it into the mother of the suckling babies. Then, the train of the revolution moved to Yemen of Arabism, which was already trains and turned it into scrap. After that, it reached Libya of Omar The Chosen One, then our dear Syria, the sword of the Arabs, where the treachery and lying of the opposition forces that are loyal to Israel and the West started spreading everywhere. The stances of the opposition are really strange, because the enemies of the past became the friends of today; I mean the French, who destroyed the Syrian people during the time of the hateful French occupation. I ask them to look to Iraq and what happened to it after the fall of the ruling party of the former martyr president Saddam Hussein. The West brought nothing to us but destruction. However, I ask God to give us victory over the agents, traitors and hypocrites under the leadership of doctor Bashar Al-Assad. We also ask him to give victory to our great Baath Socialist Party. I wish that the deviant people would not leave his house to repeat slogans that humiliate the brave Syrian people and army, as well as the free men who protect the public and private properties of the state. Finally, I have one last note: During the last Arab summit in Syria, the leader of the Al-Fatih revolution, brother colonel Muammar Gadhafi, said that the rosary has been disbanded and that Iraq was just the beginning. Evidently, no one knows the plans of the West and the USA for the Arabs. The problem is that we implement the plans with our own hands and shoot each other. This is a sectarian and a religious war, and whoever dies in this war is not a martyr, but he will go to hell forever. We seek God’s help from the turbulences of the end of the time, when each one of us will be keen on killing the other.

  • ياسر ابو الريش

    2011-8-19

    We ask God to protect Syria and its good people and remove all tyrants. No matter how long the night might be, the dawn of victory will eventually break. Yassir - Egyptian journalist

  • طه

    2011-8-14

    The Arabs will remain backward because of their tribal and sectarian heritage and their insistence on remaining in power to the last moment, when they find themselves forced to leave. Today, they do not understand the lesson, but they did the worst, like the politicians in Lebanon, Iraq, etc. It seems we are still living in the time of the caliphs, whose rule ends with their death or murder and then they bequeath the state to their sons, as if it were their own country.

  • رسل رائد

    2011-8-11

    Today, power was cut off from Hamah, including its hospitals. That was followed by the intentional destruction of the electricity generators in the hospitals by the mercenaries, which led to the death of all the premature children; more than 40 newborns in one hospital. Are these children armed gangs as well? Is there a reason for this criminal act against those children? Is there an excuse for this criminal act against humanity? This is the Nusayris’ hatred and malice, and the Baathist hatred that wants to kill every beautiful thing, everything that is human or animal. For what crime have they been killed?! Why were they slaughtered?! For what crime? {and if you ask the female infant, who was buried alive, she would answer what crime was I killed for…}

  • منى العنزي

    2011-8-11

    Peace be upon those who follow God. I want to know from the Syrian people, who will rule Syria after Al-Assad. Will it be ruled by an Alawi or a Shiite or a Druze or a Sunni or a Christian or…? There are more than 50 sects in Syria. Christians make up about one-third of the Syrian people, of whom there are 8 million, and there are the Shiites, Sunnis, Alawis and the Druzes. The example of Iraq is before you now, and the Gulf countries are regretting Saddam’s day, because Iran’s power has been increased after including Iraq to it .

  • faad

    2011-8-11

    I swear that I am shocked by this army that supposed to be an Arab Syrian army. I swear that I was very proud of it before the revolution, in spite of its being too cowardly to face Israel, while hovering around the coercion of Sharon. But the term “Arab Syrian army” frightened me, and now after the revolution I can’t believe that what I am seeing is the Arab Syrian army. It was a lie and a lame joke. Those who lost their lives and were martyred could be in Palestine or Golan… It is more suitable for the Arab Egyptian army and the Arab Tunisian army, rather than the Syrian one, which is a traitor to its people and to Arabism.

  • سوري

    2011-8-11

    It is the Arab Syrian army that will settle things down… anyone who tried to stir up discord among the Arab Syrian army couldn’t achieve his goal, and the army is still protecting the people. As for anyone who is betting on the army’s support for the new revolutionaries, he is deluded. The existing secular system is much better than those who are hiding behind the sparkling slogans. Long live Syria under the leadership of Al-Assad.

  • الزعيم

    2011-8-11

    Bashar, you will severely punished by God. You slaughtered your people and you are manipulating us, and you pray in the Ummaya mosque, while to yourself, you are cursing Bani-Ummaya.

  • راني فاتح

    2011-8-11

    Have you not seen every day the funerals of the Syrian army and security martyrs? Those are Syrians, not the country’s enemies. Who killed them, and who tortured their bodies? They are the country’s people. It is unfair to accuse Al-Assad instead of joining hands with him and revealing the murders. May God save Al-Assad.

  • بثينه

    2011-8-11

    The Syrian military forces are nothing but robbers and despicable persons who have claimed the lives of women and children, and have robbed houses. Then they claim that they have been the main pillar of the country. In fact, you have scandalized us with your heinous acts. This army has been trivial and it has required cleaning and screening, especially after the departure of the last Baathist named Bashar ibn Abi Bashar. Both of them must be expelled.

  • حنان

    2011-8-11

    Bashar Al-Assad will play the game of sectarian war, because he has appointed a Christian Minister of Defense. In fact, he has sowed a sectarian and religious war. Thus, the Syrian people must be careful of this game that will expand from Syria to Egypt. This will certainly lead to a war.

  • عاصي

    2011-8-11

    Have you seen a demonstrator like the Syrian one? In fact, he has been a demonstrator, a mujahid, a photographer and a journalist. He has also carried out charity works and participated in the popular committees in order to protect his city. Besides, he has prepared himself to be a martyr. O Syria, how great you are with such people! In fact, history will record honorable news about this particular period of time. The Syrian people have really proved that they are among the bravest and noblest peoples. Long live the great Syria and long live its great people.

  • احمد حسن الصالح

    2011-7-30

    The Syrian people are united and they will not betray Assad, and all these news stories are mean lies coming from the Americans.

  • waleed

    2011-7-30

    The mastermind of al-Qaeda has died and it will falter.

  • ابو العز

    2011-7-30

    I advise Al-Zawahiri to go and try to protect himself, rather than appointing himself as the Prince of the Believers. You are worthless to us, because your thoughts are deviant. Go away and try something else, and this is better for you.