Reeling Syrian Rebels Call For United Attack Against “Ruthless” Russia

Rebels claim they destroyed more than a dozen tanks belonging to the Syrian Army

Oct 08, 2015 at 7:56 AM ET

A Saudi preacher who’s made a summons to jihad in Syria his calling card is now rallying rebels to unite and take on the Russian and Syrian armies together.

Sheik Abdullah al-Muhaisani, who is prominent in the “Jaysh al-Fatah” coalition of Islamic rebels, which is also affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida group in Syria, issued the call to his followers on “Telegram” instant messaging system, Vocativ’s technology discovered. The group has come under repeated fire from Russian airstrikes. At least one series of attacks killed five people this week.

The message from the Sheikh as circulated in Telegram.

In the message, titled “General Mobilization,” he says: “This is an urgent call. Today the Russians and Syrians launched a ruthless offensive from al-Ghab plain, after they tasted death in Hama. Please urgently notify all the military commanders and the owners of the Anti (anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons), the snipers etc. to support the region.” The message was then circulated dozens of times by supporters on Twitter.

After a week-long airstrikes campaign, including missiles reportedly fired from a ship in the Caspian Sea, a major offensive is taking place in western Syria, backed by Russian airstrikes aiming to push rebels group out of areas they hold along the Syrian coast.

Syrian activists claimed Wednesday that rebel forces near the city of Hama managed to destroy 17 Syrian tanks, posting images of videos showing the battles and the tanks that were allegedly confiscated in the area.

Video allegedly showing firing of TOW anti-tank missiles on Syrian tanks

Russia has earned the ire of the U.S. for its intervention in Syria, rejecting Moscow’s claim that it entered the fray to support the Assad regime by targeting ISIS. For days Russian airstrikes targeted rebel-held areas far away from places where ISIS was actually based. It was days into its air campaign that Moscow finally began striking at ISIS’ capital in Syria, the eastern city of Raqqa.