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article imageJihad declared on behalf of Syrian regime

By Paul Iddon     Mar 11, 2013 in World
"A national and a religious duty," was what the highest 'official' Sunni Muslim called joining the Syrian Army recently when it issued a decree calling on Syrians to join their government in its battle the rebel opposition.
The Dar al-Ifta council declared the Syrian military's engagement against the rebel opposition a "defense and jihad for Syria" and furthermore calls for "all people in Syria to stand in one rank along with the Syrian Arab Army" and fight against what is declares to be a 'Zionist' backed insurgency. (The Spectator, March 11 2013)
Dar al Ifta is headed by the Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, who is close to the regime. He doesn't necessarily have widespread support amongst Syria's Sunni majority Muslim populace.
Many Sunni Muslim clerics and extremists have called for jihad to be waged against the Assad dictatorship and indeed many foreign fighters have entered the conflict with that intent. However the manner in which the Assad regime, which has for decades espoused secular Baathist ideals, is openly calling for jihad in the name of the Syrian state is something new.
Syria has a 300,000 man strong army. However many conscripts aren't showing up for duty since the insurrection against Assad degenerated into an armed struggle two years ago. (Reuters, March 11 2013)
More about Jihad, Holy war, Syria, Bashar alAssad
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