(NEW YORK) -- In what could only be described as an ominous turn in the ongoing Syrian conflict, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has put out a call to arms for all Muslims to take the side of rebel forces.
Making his videotaped plea, which was posted on a radical Islamic website, Osama bin Laden's successor said that Syrians must overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which he labeled a "murderous, cancerous regime."
Al-Zawahiri proclaimed, "It is the right of Syrians to protect themselves in all ways possible from injustice, murder, killing and bombardment" -- a reference to the onslaught of al-Assad's forces against both rebels and civilians in a furious bid to stay in power.
The al Qaeda leader added that Muslims all over the world must help Syrians in their efforts to oust al-Assad.
While Washington also seeks to depose al-Assad, the Obama administration is also concerned that replacement leaders could be unduly influenced by al Qaeda, further complicating the situation in Syria.
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