July 20, 2013 / 10:48 AM / 6 years ago

Egypt has no intention of waging Syria "jihad" - minister

A member of the Free Syrian Army looks out of a window piled with sandbags in Deir al-Zor July 19, 2013. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt has no intention of a waging a holy war against Syria, but still supports the Syrian peoples’ hopes for freedom, newly installed foreign minister Nabil Fahmy said on Saturday.

The Muslim Brotherhood movement of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi last month joined a call by some Sunni clerics for a jihad against the Syrian government and its Shi’ite allies.

Signalling a different approach, Fahmy told reporters: “There are no intentions for jihad in Syria.”

However, he made clear that Egypt still supported change in Syria, where rebels are battling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that has killed more than 90,000.

“We support the Syrian people and their aspirations for freedom,” Fahmy, a former Egyptian ambassador to the United States, told a news conference.

Mursi, deposed on July 3 and detained by the army, said last month that he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus and backed a no-fly zone over Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state more firmly against Assad.

Fahmy said there was no change to this decision, but that it was under review. (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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