Cairo: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslim supporters to band together to confront the threat from the West and Russia in Syria and Iraq, the latest recording suggesting greater unity between Al Qaeda and Islamic State.
"The Americans, Russians, Iranians, Alawites, and Hezbollah are coordinating their war against us -- are we not capable of stopping the fighting amongst ourselves so we can direct all our efforts against them?" Zawahri said in an audio recording released on the Internet on Sunday.
It was not clear when the recording was made but references to Russian aggression suggest it was made after Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, launched air raids against opposition groups and Islamic State in Syria on September 30.
In a recording released in September, Zawahri dismissed Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as illegitimate but said his followers would join them in fighting the Western-led coalition in Iraq and Syria if possible.
"My mujahideen brothers in all places and of all groups ... we face aggression from America, Europe, and Russia ... so it's up to us to stand together as one from East Turkestan to Morocco," Zawahri said.