“Syria without Bashar Assad would mean a country in the hands of the Salafi-Jihadists who will undoubtedly turn the country into a graveyard for the Alawites and the moderate Sunnis and a breeding ground for terrorism and extremism in the region,” Iranian academic Dr. Ismail Salami wrote in an article published on Press TV's website.
“The fact is that the al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafi-Jihadists have already swarmed into the country and are already fighting against Bashar Assad’s government,” he added.
Referring to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call on his followers to fight against Assad last February, Salami said, “The grand plan is to turn Syria into a safe haven for the Salafis.”
In a two-hour video released on Jihadists websites in October, Zawahiri repeated his call and said, “I incite Muslims everywhere, especially in the countries that are contiguous to Syria, to rise up to support their brothers in Syria with all what they can and not to spare anything that they can offer.”
The analyst said videos of Salafi-Jihadists beheading Syrian troops and civilians in cold blood have caused outrage among humanitarian organizations which have condemned the attacks as “war crimes.”
“This shocking footage depicts a potential war crime in progress, and demonstrates an utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question,” Amnesty International said.
Salami added that the Middle East region is being “systematically and consciously devoured by an act of extremism funded and promoted by Washington and some Arab regimes.”
"Without envisaging any foreign intervention and the domino effect it will have on the region and on the world as President Bashar Assad predicts, Syria is being eroded from within and without by different forces which have mobilized despite the rift in their ideologies but each with a unique agenda," Salami added.