Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on Saturday announced the “definitive” severing of relations with war-torn Syria, which is suffering from more than two years of civil war.
Egypt “decided today to definitively break off relations with the current regime in Syria, to close that regime’s embassy in Cairo and to recall Egypt’s charge d’affaires” from Damascus, Morsi told thousands of supporters in a Cairo stadium for a “Support for Syria” rally.
Calling on the international community to impose a “no-fly zone” over Syria, Morsi also said he had made “contact with Arab and Muslim states to organise an emergency support meeting” for the Syrian people.
He denounced the intervention in the conflict of powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, which recently helped government troops to victory over the rebels in the central Syrian town of Qusayr.
A popular uprising that broke out in Syria in March 2011 has gradually turned into a bloody civil war, in which more than 93,000 people have died, according to UN figures.
Syria’s conflict has grown increasingly sectarian in nature. On Thursday, influential Sunni clerics from several Arab states, including Egypt, called for jihad, or holy war, against the “sectarian” regime in Syria.
Egypt is Sunni Muslim, as are the vast majority of rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, who Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
The Egyptian government had long since called for Assad to step down.
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