BAD RAGAZ, Switzerland

Kerry: Assad must accept his reign over Syria is over

Secretary of State John Kerry ramped up already harsh criticism of Syrian President Bashar Assad on Thursday, calling him a “one-man super-magnet for terrorism” who has committed war crimes and could be responsible for the ultimate disintegration of Syria.

A day after he told an international peace conference that there is no way Assad can play a role in a potential transitional government, Kerry said Assad must act in the best interests of his country and accept that his family’s long reign over Syria is over.

“Assad has to decide that he is prepared to put the future of Syria ahead of himself,” Kerry said in an interview with the Arabic satellite television network Al-Arabiyah in Davos, Switzerland.

BEIRUT

Head of al-Qaida urges rebels to end infighting

After nearly three weeks of intra-rebel fighting that’s killed at least 1,400 people, the head of al-Qaida weighed in Thursday, urging the groups to abandon their internal rivalries and focus instead on overthrowing President Bashar Assad.

Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri made the plea in an audio statement that was aimed at calming fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al-Qaida affiliate, and other rebel groups aimed at pushing ISIS out of areas in northern and eastern Syria.

– From news service reports