Youth soccer team's goalkeeper says being accused of heading 'radical Islamist base' in Homs
The goalie of Syria's national soccer youth team, Abdulbaset al-Saroot, says the Syrian regime has placed a bounty worth more than $42,000 on his head for "establishing an emirate of radical Islam".
Saroot, who resides in Homs – a center of anti-government protests being waged in the country" – can be seen in a YouTube video in which he says the Syrian regime sees him as "expendable".
Damascus suspects the young goalkeeper has formed a base of extreme Islamists in Homs, but Saroot's supporters have begun an online campaign demanding he be kept safe.
"The Syrian regime has accused me of being a radical Islamist and of planning to establish an emirate of radical Islam," Saroot tells the camera as he stands on the background of his country's national flag.
"This accusation comes parallel to my siding with the protesters calling for freedom for the Syrian people," he adds.
"We will not withdraw our demand for the deposing of the regime. We are not radicals. There is no basis for the regime's fabricated story. Long live free Syria."
Meanwhile, the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has asked Iran to "cease the logistical support for the Syrian regime in suppressing protests".
The Turkish source cited by the paper added that Davutoglu was told Tehran has not intervened in Syrian internal affairs.
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