Middle East Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric calls on Assad to step down

Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric calls on Assad to step down
Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr speaks during a protest against corruption and informs his followers about his will at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, March 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) –  A prominent Iraqi Shia cleric on Saturday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down following the use of chemical weapons near Idlib.

In a statement, Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential Shia cleric, called for the Syrian leader to resign and urged the US and Russia to stop intervening in Syria.

“I advise [Assad] to resign and step down from power for the sake of Syria and to prevent further massacres, wars, and expansion of terrorists,” the Shia cleric said in the statement.

Sadr added the US intervention in Syria would not change anything on the ground.

He stated despite America’s war against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, terror was imminent in the country and their intervention was useless.

He mentioned the US was targeting civilians in Mosul while condemning the chemical attacks against civilians in Syria.

Sadr said the US’ involvement would play a negative role in the Syrian crisis and would only cause more harm to the people of Syria.

Moreover, Sadr said US President Donald Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria allowed IS to expand into other areas.

He also accused the US, which leads a coalition of 65 countries against IS extremists in Iraq, of sponsoring terror.

Sadr called all foreign parties involved in the Syrian civil war to withdraw their militaries from the country so the Syrian people could take the initiative in determining their future.

On Friday, upon the orders of President Trump, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against Syrian government targets.

The attack was in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons against civilians near Idlib which the US blamed Assad’s forces for carrying out.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany