Bombs in Aleppo, and hushed funerals in Lebanon
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Arabic media review

Bombs in Aleppo, and hushed funerals in Lebanon

Residents speculate that explosion in Hezbollah arms depot was meant to deflect attention from fighters killed in Syria

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Free Syrian Army soldier throws a petrol bomb at Syrian Army positions in Saif Al Dawle district in Aleppo, October 3 (photo credit: AP/ Manu Brabo)
Free Syrian Army soldier throws a petrol bomb at Syrian Army positions in Saif Al Dawle district in Aleppo, October 3 (photo credit: AP/ Manu Brabo)

The flare-up on the Syrian-Turkish border occupies the headlines of the Arab press Thursday, which went to print before the massive Turkish retaliation Thursday morning.

“Syrian shells on a Turkish town, and Ankara responds by bombing,” reads the headline of the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, which features a photo of massive wreckage in Aleppo, where three car-bomb attacks took place on Wednesday.

The daily reports that the Turkish retaliation was accompanied by a diplomatic campaign, before and after it opened fire on Syrian targets.

The editor claims that the bombing of the Turkish village Wednesday, which killed five family members, was no mistake, but rather a bold drive to drag Turkey into the war

London-based daily Al-Hayat begins its coverage with the Aleppo suicide attacks against military targets, which left 48 soldiers dead and at least 100 injured. The daily reports that Aleppo is currently divided between the west, controlled by the regime, and the east, controlled by the opposition.

Only towards the middle of the article does Al-Hayat reach the conflagration with Turkey, which it dubs “the most dangerous incident of its kind since the start of the uprising in March 2011.”

“A war between Turkey and Syria?” asks the lead editorial in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi Thursday, claiming that a full-fledged war is quite possible if the situation is not contained quickly.

The editor claims that the bombing of the Turkish village Wednesday, which killed five family members, was no mistake, but rather a bold drive to drag Turkey into the war.

“The Syrian authorities clearly consider Turkey their foremost enemy… these authorities want to drag Mr. Erdogan into battle or a regional war. The firing of mortar shells from Syria, and the killing of five Turks, is a Syrian message of provocation to Mr. Erdogan, trying to cause him to react. This will engage Turkey in a war that may wear it down economically and militarily, destroying all of its economic achievements that led it to become the 17th-strongest economy in the world.”

Meanwhile, A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Huda Husseini appeals to the Syrian sense of history and culture, calling on both sides to avoid reducing the historic city of Aleppo to rubble.

“The crime committed against the city of Aleppo, famous for its history, archaeology, fortress and markets, has shamed the regime and shamed the rebels too. Neither side is justified. It has exposed their deep ignorance, showing that their understanding of liberation and religion is deeply flawed,” writes Husseini.

More on the Hezbollah men killed in Syria

Qatar-based channel Al-Jazeera broadcasts a video released by the Free Syrian Army, in which it claims responsibility for the killing of three Hezbollah members near the city of Quseir, not far from the Lebanese border.

The video displays seven bearded men, clad in black T-shirts with a black flag hanging in the background that reads “There is no God but Allah.” The spokesman of the group (the Baraa’ Battalion), known only as Farouq, reads a statement, while the other men stand behind him with their hands crossed over their chests.

Elaph claims a connection between the funeral of Hezbollah leader Abu-Abbas and a massive explosion in the Shiite town of Nabi Sheet Wednesday, which reportedly killed three people

The channel claims that Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s television station, broadcast snippets of the Hezbollah fighters’ funerals on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Saudi-owned news website Elaph claims a connection between the funeral of Hezbollah leader Abu-Abbas and a massive explosion in the Shiite town of Nabi Sheet Wednesday, which reportedly killed three people.

The explosion took place in a Hezbollah arms depot and reportedly flattened a multi-story building. Elaph reports that Hezbollah surrounded the building and prevented access to it; the site quoted observers who speculated that the entire explosion was orchestrated to divert attention from Abu-Abbas’s funeral, which took place two days earlier.

Khader Habib, a parliament member with Hariri’s Future Party, told Elaph that he could not understand the reason for such a large Hezbollah depot so far from the border with Israel. Hezbollah has justified its massive arsenal as essential for “resistance” against Israel.

“If this event indicates anything, it is Hezbollah’s strategy and modus operandi vis-à-vis the Lebanese state,” Habib added. “It is as though the country is theirs to do what they want in it.”

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