The Salaheddine neighborhood of Aleppo is facing heavy regime fire, quickly becoming like Baba Amr, the beleaguered neighborhood of Homs, Arab media reports Thursday.

“Aleppo: is Salaheddine on its way to Baba Amr?” asks the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat. The daily cites conflicting government and opposition reports of control of the city, claiming both sides agree that the battles are “decisive.” The daily discusses the names of proposed candidates to replace international and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, who resigned last week.

Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat focuses its Syria coverage on the captive Iranians held by opposition forces. For the first time, the daily reports, Iran admitted that some of the captives are not simply civilian pilgrims but “retired military men,” some of whom belong to the Revolutionary Guard.

Syrian opposition sources told the daily that Faris is envious of Hijab for steeling his glory as the most senior Syrian defector

Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun, former head of the Syrian National Council, tells the daily that this acknowledgment by Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi is “a true condemnation of the Iranian position and proof of its continued hostility towards the rights of the Syrian people.”

“Assad is under Iranian patronage,” claims A-Sharq Al-Awsat editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed Thursday, commenting on a photo of the Syrian president meeting Iranian Supreme National Security Council chief Saeed Jalili in Damascus Tuesday. Homayed writes that the photo-op proves that the regime has no domestic support and that the Iranian official’s visit may be “a kiss goodbye” to Assad.

Saudi news site Elaph concurs with that judgment, noting that the recent disappearance of Bashar Assad from public view is an indication of his imminent downfall.

London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports bad blood between the newest Syrian defector, Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, and the former most senior defector, Nawwaf Faris — Syria’s ambassador in Iraq.

Syrian opposition sources told the daily that Faris is envious of Hijab for stealing his glory as the most senior Syrian defector, citing personal tension between the two men even when they still worked for Assad’s regime. Apparently, Hijab refused to appoint Faris as interior minister when forming his government in May.

Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera reports the complete story of Hijab’s flight from Damascus to Jordan with the help of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Yasser Aboud, the operations commander of the southern sector of the FSA, tells Al-Jazeera that Hijab’s extraction from Syria along with 35 family members took 24 hours and was arduous and tiring, since Syrian jets were continuously flying above.

Saudi news site Elaph writes that the recent disappearance of Bashar Assad from public view is an indication of his imminent downfall

Meanwhile, Al-Quds Al-Arabi editor-in-chief Abd Al-Bari Atwan responds to the warning of Jordan’s King Abdullah that Assad may form an Alawite enclave if no solution is found to the Syria crisis.

“Jordan’s King Abdullah could be described as the thermometer, or the most accurate lens to observe the contours of the plans being hatched in the region,” writes Atwan.

“The warning of an Alawite entity is the first and most serious indication of the serious possibility of Syria’s fragmentation along sectarian and ethnic lines. This completely contradicts the goals of the popular revolution which strives to establish a democratic state in all of Syria.”

A turning point for Morsi

Egyptian military attacks on terror operatives in the Sinai Peninsula mix with reports on the sacking of security officials in Cairo in Thursday’s Arab press.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that, for the first time since the signing of the Camp David peace accords with Israel, fighter jets are being used in Sinai. The daily reports the killing of 20 “extremists.” The daily displays a photo of three Egyptian soldiers lying in what seems to be an ambush atop a sand dune in northern Sinai.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi’s lead editorial dubs the Rafah attack ‘a main turning point in the history of President Mohammed Morsi’

Al-Quds Al-Arabi dedicates its top headline to Egypt, reporting that Morsi’s security shakeup was “a clear attempt to contain public sadness and anger.”

The daily’s lead editorial dubs the Rafah attack “a main turning point in the history of President Mohammed Morsi.”

“This operation did not only expose the security anarchy in the Sinai desert … but also the new Egyptian president’s power and his ability to make tough and decisive decisions.”