Arab Opinion Makers Debate Israeli Air Strike in Syria

Israeli fighter jets targeted a Hamas "military target" in northern Gaza on Monday in response to Palestinians infiltrating the border and laying bombs the previous day, the army said.
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

TEL AVIV — Pundits and politicians in the Arab world have been extensively discussing the Israeli strike on Thursday morning in the area of Masyaf in Syria.

Arab and Israeli media outlets reported that planes bombed a sensitive Syrian army site, seemingly a facility for the manufacturing of chemical weapons. The Syrian army claimed that the two of its soldiers were killed in the strike and warned that there will be serious consequences.

A variety of responses dotted social media, with some users wondering at the silence from the Russians in light of the fact that Russian air defense systems stationed in Syria did not repel the Israeli air strike.

Syrian journalist and activist Hadeel Oueiss wrote, “Masyaf is 70 kilometers from the Russian base Khmeim, but the Russian air defense missiles didn’t do anything to defend against the Israeli planes.”

Jordanian-Palestinian analyst Yasser Zaatreh, who opposes the Assad regime, wrote, “The Israelis are brazen to carry out this attack. They disparage the regime and its allies, including Russia, who barely criticized the strike. A disgrace. But genocide is a greater disgrace.”

A Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese activist, Hassan Bairam, wrote, “Israel is under pressure; it’s weaker than a spider web,” repeating the unsubstantiated claims of Syria and Hezbollah that the Israeli army helps the Syrian opposition every time the Syrian army and Hezbollah achieve victories.

Syrian politician and opposition figure Bassam Jaara intimated that the Syrian army may respond, but against the Syrian population rather than against Israel. “As we’ve already gotten used to, the response to the Israeli strike that damaged a research institution – of missiles and chemical weapons – in the area of Masyaf, will be the bombing of Syrian cities.”

Syrian opposition figure Abo Yosha al-Homsi wrote, “The Israeli planes struck the research center at Masyaf east of Hamat, known as a center for the production of chemical weapons, and Assad retains the right to respond.”

Syrian activist and supporter of the Assad regime Lamloma apparently believes the claim that the attack was meant to harm the regime as it achieves victories against the opposition. “In all regards to the Israeli strike that damaged our military position and their claim that these were Hezbollah weapons, the significance is that the anger of Israel is the result of its pain from our victories.”

On the other hand, Syrian media personality and opposition supporter Alaa Ahmad laughed at the Syrian regime, writing, “After the Israeli strike today against the territory of the Syrian regime, I want to inform you that national sovereignty is still fine.”

Hisham Nafaa, a journalist and regime supporter wrote, “If you are happy about the Israeli attack on Masyaf in Syria, you ought to use the weekend to think about your position and your morality even if you are against the regime.”


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