Syria on Sunday harshly criticized Cairo's decision to sever diplomatic relations with Damascus, accusing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi of joining a US and Israel-led conspiracy against Syria.
Morsi said he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus on Saturday and called for a no-fly zone over Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state firmly against President Bashar Assad.
Syria's official SANA news agency quoted a government source as saying that Morsi was implementing the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has called for jihad against the Syrian regime, and ignoring the aspirations of the Egyptian people.
The statement added that Morsi and the Egyptian clerics should direct their attention toward liberating "usurped Palestinian land, particularly Jerusalem," rather than issuing fatwas calling for more "Syrian bloodshed."
The Syrian official said that Morsi's calls for foreign intervention in Syria and the implementation of a no-fly zone in the country would only serve the interests of the US and Israel.
The source added that the continued presence of an Israeli embassy in Cairo and Egypt's adherence to the Camp David accords with Israel delegitimizes both Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Saturday, addressing a rally called by Sunni Muslim clerics in Cairo, Morsi said: "We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime."
He also warned Assad's allies in the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi'ite militia Hezbollah to pull back from fighting in Syria.
"We stand against Hezbollah in its aggression against the Syrian people," Morsi said. "Hezbollah must leave Syria - these are serious words. There is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria."
Morsi, who faces growing discontent at home over the economy and over fears that he will pursue an Islamist social agenda, said he was organizing an urgent summit of Arab and other Islamic states to discuss the situation in Syria, where the United States has in recent days decided to take steps to arm the rebels.
Morsi said Syria was the target of "a campaign of extermination and planned ethnic cleansing fed by regional and international states", partly in reference to Iran, though he did not name the Shi'ite Islamic Republic.
Morsi said: "The Egyptian people supports the struggle of the Syrian people, materially and morally, and Egypt, its nation, leadership ... and army, will not abandon the Syrian people until it achieves its rights and dignity."
The Brotherhood has joined calls this week from Sunni Muslim religious organizations for a jihad against Assad and his Shi'ite allies. Egypt has not taken an active role in arming the Syrian rebels, but an aide to Morsi said this week that Cairo would not stand in the way of Egyptians who wanted to fight in Syria.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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