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Islamist rule in Egypt fails: Syria's Assad

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that massive protests against his Islamist Egyptian counterpart has spelt the end of "political Islam," in statements posted on Wednesday on his official Facebook page.

"What is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is known as political Islam," Assad said in an interview with Syrian state newspaper Ath-Thawra, excerpts of which were posted on the Internet.

"Anywhere in the world, whoever uses religion for political aims, or to benefit some and not others, will fall," Assad said.

The full interview is due to be published on Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said Morsi's departure is key to solving Egypt's crisis.

There is long-standing animosity between the Damascus regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, and membership in the group has been punishable by death in Syria since the 1980s.

The Syrian branch of the Brotherhood today plays a key role in the exiled opposition National Coalition, which is recognised by more than 100 states and organisations as legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Egypt is Sunni Muslim, as are the vast majority of rebels fighting to overthrow Assad whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Morsi last month announced severing ties with the Damascus regime and has repeatedly called on Assad to step down.

Syria's conflict broke out after Assad's regime unleashed a brutal crackdown on a popular movement for regime change that broke out in March 2011.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria's war, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130703/islamist-rule-egypt-fails-syrias-assad