As Turkey and Syria banned each others airplanes from flying over each other’s airspace, the Ummayad Mosque, a historic landmark in Aleppo, suffered damage as a result of fighting between government and opposition forces.
“Turkey and Syria close their airspace and Brahimi propagates new plan,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, reporting that international envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has proposed sending a peacekeeping force to Syria in a meeting with opposition members. Brahimi headed to Iran and will also visit Iraq to discuss possible solutions to the Syrian crisis.
‘Visitors to Istanbul these days sense that they are visiting a country in a state of war, or at least on the verge of a war waiting to erupt. The question is not whether this war will occur, but when, and what event will ignite it’
In a separate article, the daily reports that 31,000 Syrians are currently held prisoner by government and opposition forces. A political adviser for the Free Syrian Army, Bassam Dada, told the daily that the rebels intend to appeal to international organizations such as the Red Cross and request a prisoner swap.
Meanwhile, photos of wreckage and destruction in Aleppo’s ancient Umayyad Mosque feature high in Arab language dailies Monday.
“Great Umayyad mosque pays the price for the battle over Aleppo,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat.
“In one of the worst days of violence in Aleppo, activists and witnesses said that fierce fighting erupted in the area of the great Umayyad mosque between government and opposition forces, inflicting grave damage to the historic mosque which is considered a relic of Islamic construction. Parts of the mosque were destroyed and burned,” reads the daily’s lead paragraph.
Government and opposition forces subsequently exchanged accusations through public statements over responsibility for the destruction of the mosque, the daily reports.
Writing from Istanbul, Abd Al-Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, claims that Turkey is preparing for imminent war with Syria.
“Visitors to Istanbul these days sense that they are visiting a country in a state of war, or at least on the verge of a war waiting to erupt. The question is not whether this war will occur, but when, and what event will ignite it,” writes Atwan.
“Syria is everywhere in Turkey. In the airports, in the press, on television, in cafes, in taxis. Everyone, without exception, discusses the escalating tension on the border [with Syria] and the repercussions that may evolve into peace or war. The opinions of most analysts and people on the street lean towards the latter.”
The website of Qatari news channel A-Jazeera features a photo album titled “Syria’s field hospitals: a tale of suffering and torment,” displaying bloody photos of combatants and children being treated in ill-equipped hospitals in Aleppo and Mi’rat Al-Ni’man.
Bahrain’s King blasts ‘external enemies’
A public appearance before parliament by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa Sunday, in which he called for dialogue with the opposition and accused unnamed outside powers of interfering in his country’s affairs, features high in Arabic news Monday.
Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports Monday that Lebanese Druze politician Walid Jumblatt has failed
in his ‘well known diplomatic skills’ to prevent his daughter Dalia from eloping with the son of one of his veteran bodyguards
“King Hamad: the ‘erring faction’ is aided from without,” reads the headline in A-Sharq Al-Awsat, somewhat enigmatically. Hamad is likely alluding to Iran, a country which he has accused in the past of aiding Shiite oppositionists who have been calling for political reform since early 2011.
“Bahrain’s King: the door to dialogue is open, and demands will not be achieved through force and violence,” reads the headline of Al-Hayat, which reports his conciliatory tone in an appeal to national unity. The King spoke at the opening session of the (elected) parliament and (appointed) Shoura council.
Lebanese daughters of politicians elope, “the Bodyguard” style
Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports Monday that Lebanese Druze politician Walid Jumblatt has failed in his “well known diplomatic skills” to prevent his daughter Dalia from eloping with the son of one of his veteran bodyguards.
Jumblatt reportedly refused the marriage due to the social discrepancies between the family of the young man, Adham Al-Ba’ini, and his own family, which is considered part of the Druze aristocracy.
Similarly, Hind Hariri, the youngest daughter of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, married her bodyguard with the agreement of her family in 2009. Hind Hariri is considered one of the world’s youngest billionaires, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports.