Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s leader has called Syrian opposition army to wage guerrilla warfare against the government of Bashar al-Assad and its allies.
In an audio record named “Syria will only bow to God”, released on the internet on Sunday, Zawahiri persuaded Syrian rebels to “have patience and prepare themselves for a long war against the Crusaders and their Shia allies,” a news report by Al Jazeera claimed.
He asked them to adopt a ‘guerilla warfare’ technique as it would ‘weaken and drain the enemy’. The enemies “are targeting them because they are trying to establish an Islamic rule in Syria, as the West and its allies were doing everything they can to stop it.”
A group of rebels, Al Nusra broke its ties with Al Qaeda and formed another group Jabhat Fath al-Sham. On 28th January 2017, it merged with other groups to form another organisation Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
Al-Jazeera’s senior analyst said that Zawahiri wanted to gain attention. “Certainly with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) being the star, if you will, in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, al-Qaeda is trying to be relevant at a time when it is no longer relevant,” he added.
He also stated,”Al-Qaeda itself has changed over the last decade. Once upon a time, it used to be a hierarchical group whereby Zawahiri’s boss, Osama bin Laden, used to give orders and they used to be carried through. Various organisations joined the franchise because they knew there was some sort of a hierarchy.”
Marwan Bishara, the senior analyst at Al-Jazeera also explained that the organisation has split into many other segments over the last decade. “These are very autonomous groups and they are not taking any instructions from Ayman al-Zawahiri or from any headquarters in Pakistan, Afghanistan … Syria is where there could be a turning point,” he told.