A decision by the Free Syrian Army, the opposition’s main fighting force, to move its headquarters from Turkey to Syria, features high on Arab news Sunday.
“The Free Syrian Army headquarters moves to the ‘liberated territories’ and Turkish deployment near the border,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat. The daily reports that the Syrian regime fears an opposition takeover of a vast region stretching from Aleppo to Idlib to the border with Turkey. Meanwhile, Turkey has reportedly deployed anti-aircraft missiles and heavy weaponry near the border with Syria.
Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports a flareup on Syria’s borders with Lebanon and Jordan. According to the daily, mortar shells have landed inside Jordanian territory during a border skirmish between the Jordanian and Syrian armies. The Lebanese army announced that a border post was attacked on Saturday by Free Syrian Army forces.
The daily’s editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed expresses his concern in an op-ed Sunday that the FSA headquarters move was not sufficiently planned and coordinated with the opposition’s international partners, namely Turkey and France.
“This is a big move,” writes Homayed. “It indicates the predicament of Assad and his allies, especially Iran, showing that the noose has begun to tighten around Assad.”
‘Traveling the roads leading to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights these days … puts you in a state of anxiety and tension, making you feel as though a war is looming’
London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi focuses its coverage on the fierce battles raging in Aleppo, reporting that a new mass grave was found in the city. Three opposition members operating inside Syria were kidnapped in Damascus on Thursday upon their return from a visit to China, the daily claims.
“If reports of the arrest are true,” writes the editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, “this is a clear indication that the Syrian regime has not learned the lesson of the past year and a half, and continues with its old practice of leading the country to this sorry state of bloody war.”
Meanwhile, an Al-Hayat correspondent reporting from the Golan Heights claims that Israel is fearful of a looming war with Syria.
“Traveling the roads leading to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights these days… puts you in a state of anxiety and tension, making you feel as though a war is looming. Army convoys meet you everywhere. The wide expanses of the Syrian Golan are filled with armored vehicles and dozens of soldiers use the machines as a rest stop. Warplanes and helicopters fly above your head.”
A new ‘intifada’ in Benghazi
Violent protests have erupted over the weekend in the Libyan city of Benghazi, “where the first spark of the Libyan revolution was ignited,” with dozens of people killed, reports A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
According to the daily, the protesters succeeded in banishing members of the Islamist movement Ansar A-Sharia, which is believed to be responsible for the attack on the American consulate in the city last week.
The daily reports that the US has offered the Libyan government assistance in disarming the militias in Libya “which are destabilizing its nascent democracy.”
According to the daily, the protesters succeeded in banishing members of the Islamist movement Ansar A-Shari,” which is believed to be responsible for the attack on the American consulate in the city last week
“Libya decides to bust armed militias,” reads the headline of a report in Al-Jazeera, a Qatar-based news channel, reporting that 17 died and 50 were wounded in clashes between civilians and the army. In the video report, a relative of one of the victims claims that demonstrators, who were defending the army, were taken away from the demonstration location and executed.
A listening device explodes in Iran
Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya reports Sunday that a surveillance device hidden inside a rock near the nuclear plant in Fordo, Iran, exploded on August 17, cutting energy lines to the plant and suspending uranium enrichment for weeks.
According to the channel, Iranian officials accused members of the IAEA inspectors team of involvement in what they called a “terrorist attack.”
The channel quotes a report by the British Sunday Times, according to which a patrol of the Revolutionary Guard came across a rock blocking the way during a routine check of electricity and communication lines leading to Fordo. When the patrol attempted to move the rock it exploded, cutting electricity cables leading to the plant.
A forensic examination of the wreckage found remains of a listening device hidden inside the rock, similar to devices used in the past in Lebanon, attributed to Israeli intelligence.