Syrian rebels call for regional alliance against Russia and Iran

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian insurgent groups including the powerful Islamist faction Ahrar al-Sham have called on regional states to forge an alliance against Russia and Iran in Syria, they said in a statement on Monday. The insurgents, which also include rebel groups under the umbrella of the Free Syria Army, said in the statement seen by Reuters that the cooperation is needed to counter "the Russian-Iranian alliance occupying Syria." The 41 groups which signed the statement did not include al Qaeda's Syria wing Nusra Front, which is in an insurgent coalition with Ahrar al-Sham that captured most of Idlib province in the northwest. The statement did not name which states should take part in the alliance but Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have backed the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Dominic Evans)