Egypt's president announced today that he was cutting off diplomatic relations with Syria, closing Damascus' embassy in Cairo, and withdrawing the Egyptian charge d'affaires from Damascus. The decisions were made amid growing calls from hard-line Sunni clerics in Egypt and elsewhere to launch a "holy war" against Syria's embattled regime. Mohammed Morsi also called on Lebanon's Hezbollah to leave Syria, where the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group has been fighting alongside troops loyal to embattled President Bashar Assad against the mostly Sunni rebels.
"Hezbollah must leave Syria. This is serious talk: There is no business or place for Hezbollah in Syria," Morsi told thousands of supporters at a rally in Cairo. Assad's regime, he said, will have no place in the future of Syria after committing what Morsi called "horrors" against its people. Morsi's address points to the increasing perception of the Syrian conflict as sectarian. As he entered the rally, the Egyptian president picked up a flag of the Syrian revolution and another of Egypt and waved them to the crowd.