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Al Qaida leader tells fighters to prepare for long war in Syria

Al Qaida's leader has urged his followers and all militants in Syria to unite ranks and prepare for protracted jihad.

Ayman al-Zawahri told the jihadis to remain steadfast and change tactics to guerrilla warfare.

His remarks came in an audio message released on Monday by al Qaida's media arm, As-Sahab.

Al-Zawahri said an "international satanic alliance" will never accept Islam's rule in Syria.

He said the war is not an exclusively nationalist Syrian cause, but a campaign by the entire "Muslim nation" which seeks to establish divine rule.

Al Qaida's Syrian branch - formerly the Nusra Front, but now known as the Fatah al-Sham Front - has come under increasing attack from the US-led coalition in recent months and some of its most senior leaders have been killed in air strikes.

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