DOHA - Prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has appealed to Sunni Muslims worldwide to join opposition forces in their fight against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
"Every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that (must) make himself available" to support the Syrian opposition, Qaradawi said at a rally in Doha cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Saturday, June 1.More than 70,000 people have been killed in more than two years of fighting between Assad's security forces and opposition forces.
The fighting has forced more than one million Syrians to flee their home to neighboring countries in addition to the displacement of two millions others inside the country.
Thousands of foreign fighters are believed to have joined the fighting in Syria against Assad's regime.
Sheikh Qaradawi criticized Iran and its Shiite ally Hizbullah for supporting the Assad's regime.
"Iran is pushing forward arms and men (to back the Syrian regime), so why do we stand idle?" he said.
The prominent scholar described the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which means the party of God in Arabic, as the "party of Satan".
"The leader of the party of the Satan comes to fight the Sunnis... Now we know what the Iranians want... They want continued massacres to kill Sunnis," Qaradawi said.
Hizbullah, a close ally of Iran and the Syrian regime, is openly engaged in the fight against the anti-regime forces in Syria.
Hizbullah fighters are currently engaged in fierce battles against the anti-regime forces to capture the Syrian town of Qusayr near the Lebanese borders.
The Lebanese group has already lost dozens of its men in the battle for Qusayr.
On Saturday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to propel Assad to victory in Syria's civil war.
The Shiite leader also pledged that Hizbullah will turn the tide of the conflict in Assad's favor, and stay as long as necessary to do so.
"How could 100 million Shiites (worldwide) defeat 1.7 billion (Sunnis)?" Qaradawi exclaimed.
"Only because (Sunni) Muslims are weak."
Sheikh Qaradawi regretted his previous backing for Hizbullah and its leader, who gained popularity after steadfastness in the fight against Israel in 2006.
"I defended the so-called Nasrallah and his party, the party of tyranny... in front of clerics in Saudi Arabia," which is wary of neighboring Shiite Iran and its allies," he said.
"It seems that the clerics of Saudi Arabia were more mature than me," he said.
Yet, the prominent scholar insisted that his call to fight Hizbullah is "not against all Shiites".
Earlier this week, the military chief of the main umbrella group of the Syrian opposition, the Free Syrian Army, has accused Hizbullah fighters of "invading" Syria.
General Selim Idriss said that more than 7,000 fighters of the Lebanese Shiite movement were taking part in attacks on the opposition-held town of Qusair.
The French foreign minister has estimated the number of Hizbullah fighters at 3,000-4,000.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has also condemned Hizbullah's involvement in the conflict in Syria.
Two months ago, two Salafi scholars in Lebanon have called for Muslims to join the Syrian opposition to fight against Assad's regime.
The scholars attributed their call for the participation of the Shiite group Hizbullah in the Syrian civil war on the side of Assad.
There is no end in sight to the conflict in Syria, which has divided world powers.
Russia and Shiite Iran support Assad, while the United States, along with some European and Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab nations back a fractured opposition.Damascus and some of its opponents have said they will consider peace talks, but no meetings have been arranged.