Al Qaeda's Zawahiri calls for war to oust Syria's Assad
In a video message, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for Muslims to rally for a war to oust Syria's Bashar al-Assad.
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Syria has a large population of Kurds, who have mostly stayed on the sidelines of the uprising since Assad's regime began giving them long-denied citizenship as a gesture to win support.Skip to next paragraph
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The Arab League has been trying to end the bloodshed in Syria.
On Sunday, the Arab League called for the UN Security Council to create a joint peacekeeping force for Syria. The resolution adopted by the League also demanded that Syrian regime forces lift the siege on neighborhoods and villages and pull troops and their heavy weapons back to barracks.
The central city of Homs has seen some of the worst violence of the uprising, and activists said regime forces were shelling rebellious neighborhoods on Sunday. Hundreds are believed to have been killed since the latest assault in Homs began more than a week ago.
The Arab League resolution also calls on Syrian opposition groups to unite ahead of a Feb. 24 meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group," which includes the United States, its European allies and Arab nations working to end the conflict.
Syria's ambassador to Egypt, Ahmed Youssef, swiftly rejected the resolution, saying it showed the collective Arab will has been "hijacked" by states led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are opposed to Assad's regime.
Syria's ambassador to the Arab League, Ahmed Youssef, was quoted in Syria's state media as saying that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were "living in a state of hysteria after their last failure at the U.N. Security Council to call for outside interference in Syria's affairs and impose sanctions on the Syrian people."
The regime's crackdown has left it almost completely isolated internationally, except for key support from Russia and China, which delivered a double veto to block a U.N. resolution calling on Assad to leave power.
Moscow's stance is motivated in part by its strategic and defense ties, including weapons sales, with Syria. Russia also rejects what it sees as a world order dominated by the U.S. Last month, Russia reportedly signed a $550 million deal to sell combat jets to Syria.
The veto prompted Western and Arab countries to consider forming a coalition to help Syria's opposition, though so far there is no sign they intend to give direct aid to the Free Syrian Army.
Speaking to "Fox News Sunday," Lew said: "There is no question that this regime will come to an end. The only question is when."