Middle East

Arab Twitter users rap Syria air strikes

Members of Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, Syria Image copyright AP
Image caption Members of Islamic State parade in Raqqa, Syria

Arab Twitter users have expressed dismay at US-led strikes against the jihadist group Islamic State in Syria. Newly created hashtags, #Syria_under_attack and #Syria, have drawn thousands of tweets in recent days.

While many users are united in their hatred of Islamic State, the vast majority of comments highlight the plight of Syrian civilians.

Some criticise the Syrian government for allowing foreign intervention, others question the involvement of Arab states in the military action, but most are united in their concern for the Syrian people.

'Syria under attack'

Egyptian activist Samirah Ibrahim, with over 223,000 followers, tweets."Do you think the US jets will differentiate between ISIS and the rest, you spiteful traitors!! All that is happening right now is destroying whatever is left in Syria."

Qatari user Haya al-Merri tweets in Arabic: "Despite my hatred for IS and those who created it, I am not happy to see foreign fighter jets striking Syria; something in my heart hurts me."

With over 8,000 followers, Egyptian user ‏@shams_rab3a, says: "Syria is also under bombardment day and night. Syria is producing dozens of martyrs every day."

Syrian user ‏@almoutlk12000 tweets: "O God, protect the blood of innocent Muslims in Syria. Killing the Syrians continues for the fourth year."

Outrage at Arab involvement

Some users express their outrage at the involvement of Arab states in the air strikes.

Palestinian journalist Rasha Hirzallah tweeted in Arabic: "Arab weapons rapidly emerged to strike Syria. For more than 66 years, Palestine has been under [the Israeli] occupation and no Arab country fired a single bullet against Israel."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Over 140,000 Kurdish Syrian refugees have fled to the Turkish town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province

Referring to the UAE's first female pilot, reported to have led air strikes on IS, Hizrallah adds: "The UAE [female fighter pilot] Mariam al-Mansouri is participating in striking Syria. She fulfilled her dream to be a military leader at the expense of the wounds of the Syrians. Damn you Arabs."

With 341,000 followers, Kuwaiti politician Hakim al-Mutayri tweeted in Arabic: "The conspiracy of this era, the Iranian and Huthi danger threatens Arab Gulf states in the south and the aircraft of these states are striking the Syrian people in the north."

US under scrutiny

Others treat the West's motives for military action with suspicion. Haya al-Merri tweets: "The US war does not aim at uprooting extremism; but rather containing its impact on US and Israeli interests in the region."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many social media users are angry at the US and its allies for their attacks on IS in Syria

Mr Mutayri also posted photos of US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande alongside the tweet: "All terrorists in the world speak about the importance of fighting terrorism; #Syria_under_attack."

Syrian sovereignty

A number of prominent social media users direct their anger and frustration at the Syrian government for its stance on foreign intervention.

With nearly two million followers on Twitter and over five million on Facebook, Syrian TV presenter Faysal al-Qassim, says: "Whenever any Syrian hinted about foreign intervention in Syria, [President] Bashar al-Assad's intelligence would accuse him of all sorts of treason. Today when Al-Assad welcomes the American raids and the violation of Syrian sovereignty, it is being perceived as a patriotic act! Who would you say is the real traitor?"

Egyptian writer Osama Gharib, with over 57,000 followers, tweets: "The Americans are attacking Syria and the Syrian leaders are happy…I think this year's fashion is to support one's enemies."

Saudi social media user Turki al-Robee adds: "Bashar al-Assad will now take a break after the USA and some Arab countries took responsibility for hitting Syrians and destroying their cities!"

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook

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