Fifty-five Saudi Arabian ‘opposition’ clerics and academicians, including some prominent Islamists, have signed a joint online statement urging “true Muslims” to “give all moral, material, political and military” support to the fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army as well as Iranian and Russian forces.
The statement follows the commencement of daily Russian air raids in Syria targeting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists. Contrary to Riyadh’s public anti-ISIS stance, the clerics’ call appears to be portraying the militants as “defenders” of faith.
“The holy warriors of Syria are defending the whole Islamic nation. Trust them and support them … because if they are defeated, God forbid, it will be the turn of one Sunni country after another,” the call reads, as cited by Reuters.
The group brands the Russian involvement as “an orthodox crusade” and calls on anti-Assad fighters to “unify their front” and stay in Syria. It also uses sectarian terms for Iran and the Shi’ite Alawite sect to which Assad belongs.