International players are weighing in on the deteriorating security situation in Syria, capturing the main headlines of the Arab press on Thursday.

The London-based daily Al-Hayat quotes a joint statement by the foreign ministers of Russia and France in Paris Wednesday, whereby the destiny of President Bashar Assad is the only point of contention between Russia and the West on the Syrian question.

in a separate article, the daily reports on Lakhdar Brahimi’s meetings in China. The international envoy to Syria reportedly encouraged the Chinese to adopt an “active role” in the Syrian crisis, with no specification of what that role is expected to be.

British Under Secretary of State Alistair Burt tells the daily that Russia is unlikely to change its public stance on Syria any time soon, but that diplomatic efforts are underway to convince it that its interests in Syria will not be harmed by Assad’s ouster

The Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat presents the Russian position in a somewhat harsher light.

“Lavrov: The ‘bloodbath’ in Syria will continue if the West does not change its position on Assad,” reads the daily’s headline.

“Russian and French officials failed again to reach a ‘common reading’  of the ‘Geneva paper’ and every side went back to viewing it in a way that supports his position,” begins the article.

British Under Secretary of State Alistair Burt tells the daily that Russia is unlikely to change its public stance on Syria any time soon, but that diplomatic efforts are under way to convince it that its interests in Syria will not be harmed by Assad’s ouster.

The daily dedicates its main headline to a warning by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Syrian opposition not to allow extremists to divert the course of the revolution, following reports that jihadists are flocking to Syria to fight alongside the rebels. Clinton spoke at a press conference in Zagreb.

Al-Jazeera columnist Majed Kayali laments the violence of the Syrian revolution, claiming that it stands out in the Arab Spring as the most costly Arab revolution in human life.

“The dictatorial regime in Syria displays no moral sensitivity or responsibility towards the high number of casualties, which have surpassed those who died in all the Arab wars with Israel,” writes Kayali on the Qatari news station’s website.

Violence in Tunisia between Salafis and the police

The London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi leads its front page with reports that Salafis (fundamentalist Muslims) armed with knives are walking the streets of Tunis following the death of two of their number Tuesday night at the hands of the police, with police threatening to use live ammunition to disperse the men.

On Wednesday, a number of security men demonstrated across from the interior ministry in the Tunisian capital to protest against repeated attacks by extremist Islamists, Al-Hayat reports. The men demanded that the government activate a 1969 law that allows for a tougher response against aggression directed at security officials.

Meanwhile, Arab media is reporting that the Tunisian government has extended the country’s state of emergency by three months, for the ninth time since the emergency law was introduced in February 2011.

A video reports by Dubai-based news station Al-Arabiya shows the protesters displaying a Molotov cocktail apparently used by the Salafis, reporting also that they have used daggers to try and force arms out of the hands of policemen.

Palestinian Authority questions writer for critical article

The Palestinian Authority summoned a writer for questioning on Wednesday following an article he penned criticizing the PA’s conduct in promoting senior officials, Al-Jazeera reports.

Harb accused the Palestinian Authority of promoting senior officials without clear guidelines or criteria, based on cronyism

Jihad Harb told Al-Jazeera that the Palestinian president’s office filed a complaint against him with the prosecutor general for defamation and libel, following an article he published online titled “Presidential decisions are taken in the cafe.”

Harb accused the Palestinian Authority of promoting senior officials without clear guidelines or criteria, based on cronyism.

In a conversation with Al-Jazeera, he said that the PA and specifically President Abbas’s office is trying to silence writers and prevent them from expressing their criticism of civil service.

Harb told the Qatari station that the role of critics is doubly important in overseeing the conduct of government in the absence of an active parliament, the legislative council, which has not convened in months.