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Saudi opposition clerics guardedly call for jihad against Iran and Russia in Syria


Dozens of Islamist Saudi Arabian clerics have called on Arab and Muslim countries to “give all moral, material, political and military” support to what they term a jihad, or holy war, against Syria’s government and its Iranian and Russian backers, reuters.com reported on Monday.

“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,” Reuters quotes the statement.

The 53 signatories, including prominent Islamists with a history of opposing the government, were careful not to contradict that message, for example by calling on Saudis to join the jihad, but they also did not speak out against travel for jihad.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Gulf countries support the rebels fighting against the troops of the Syrian President Bashar Assad who is backed by Russia and Iran. Riyadh is also worried about the rise of jihadist groups such as Islamic State among the opposition.