Al-Qaida No. 2 called for "violent jihad" in Syria

June 12, 2012 - 5:37 PM
Syria

Residents stand next to a hole in a building that was damaged after shelling at the Talbisah area in Homs city Syria Monday June 11, 2012. (AP Photo/David Manyua/United Nations )

CAIRO (AP) — Before he was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week, al-Qaida's second-in-command urged Arabs to take up arms to assist Syrian rebels in their uprising against President Bashar Assad.

The call came in a nearly 15-minute-long video message by Abu Yahya al-Libi. It was released Tuesday, but a jihadist website said it was produced in November. Al-Libi was killed last week in North Waziristan, Pakistan.

According to the SITE monitoring group, al-Libi called on Syrians to abandon any "illusions of peacefulness" and fight Assad and what he called U.S. conspiracies against the revolution.

Al-Qaida has tried to capitalize on the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region. The Syrian revolt, which activists say has claimed more than 13,000 lives, is a popular topic on jihadist online forums.