Al Qaeda leader calls for unity against Russia in new recording

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on Islamic militants to band together to combat the West and Russia on battlegrounds in Syria and Iraq, in a new recording released Sunday.

It appears to be his latest attempt to avoid being sidelined by ISIS, a US intelligence official tells Fox News.

The new recording stands out because it makes current references to Russian intervention in Syria. Previous tapes from Zawahiri were recorded months in advance before being released.

Fox News is told Zawahiri is seeking to capitalize off Russia’s intervention, given Al Qaeda's historical roots fighting the Soviets.

"The Americans, Russians, Iranians, Alawites, and Hezbollah are coordinating their war against us -- are we not capable of stopping the fighting amongst ourselves so we can direct all our efforts against them?" Zawahiri said in the video, according to Reuters.

The intelligence community is analyzing the recording, and it is not clear when the video was created. However, references to Russian aggression suggest the tape was recorded after Moscow launched its airstrike campaign in Syria on Sept. 30.

In September, Zawahiri blasted Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling him illegitimate, but said his followers would join them in fighting the Western-led coalition in Iraq and Syria, Reuters reports.

ISIS has called for a holy war against Russia and the U.S. in response to the airstrike campaign in Syria.

Fox News' Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.

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