Hizbullah flag
Hizbullah flagAFP photo

Radical Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called on Sunni Muslims to join the rebels fighting the Syrian regime, AFP reported on Saturday.

Qaradawi lashed out at the Shiite terror group Hizbullah for sending its men to fight the mostly-Sunni insurgents in Syria.

Qaradawi, a controversial figure in the West but who has millions of supporters, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, also hit out at Iran for backing the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to AFP.

"Every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that [must] make himself available" to support the Syrian rebels, he was quoted as having said at a rally in Doha late Friday.

"Iran is pushing forward arms and men [to back the Syrian regime], so why do we stand idle?" he said, branding Hizbullah as the "party of Satan".

"The leader of the party of the Satan comes to fight the Sunnis... Now we know what the Iranians want... They want continued massacres to kill Sunnis," Qaradawi said, according to AFP.

The cleric blamed himself for previously backing Hizbullah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah.

"I defended the so-called Nasrallah and his party, the party of tyranny... in front of clerics in Saudi Arabia," said Qaradawi.

"It seems that the clerics of Saudi Arabia were more mature than me," he added.

Initially Hizbullah said it wanted only to defend 13 Syrian villages along the border where Lebanese Shiites live, and the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine near Damascus, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

However, its terrorists later encircled Qusayr with regime troops before the launch of a withering assault on the strategic border town that is home to 25,000 people.

At least 75 Hizbullah members have already been killed fighting alongside Assad’s soldiers, and Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah vowed last week to continue the group’s support for Assad.

Qaradawi, who is a citizen of Qatar and close to the Muslim Brotherhood, in the past provided the religious sanction for the suicide bombing campaign against Israel. In January 2009 he claimed that Hitler had put the Jews in their place and that the Holocaust was "divine punishment."

He recently headed a delegation to Gaza, where he saidthat Israel has no right to exist, adding that nobody was allowed to cede "any part of Palestine."