Arab Twitter users divided on rising Russia-Turkey tensions

Arab Twitter users divided on rising Russia-Turkey tensions
Blog: minutes after Turkey shot down a Russian plane that had crossed its airspace during a bombing run over Syria, Arabs took to Facebook and Twitter to sound off.
2 min read
25 Nov, 2015
Many Arabs were pleased by Turkey "standing up" to Russian intervention alongside Assad's regime [AFP]
Arab users of social media platforms were divided over the Turkish downing of a Russian jet near the border with Syria Tuesday - sometimes sharply.

Some welcomed the downing of the Russian plane, and defended Turkey's right to protect its sovereignty and airspace.

Others who support Russia's intervention in Syria were of a different view.

The Arabic hashtag #Turkey_downs_Russian_plane trended heavily throughout Tuesday.
Read more on the Russia-Turkey crisis over Syria
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The disparate views more or less reflected divided Arab opinions over the conflict in Syria, and the various sides involved.

"Turkey has taught Russia today the meaning of the word sovereignty," wrote Saleh on Twitter.

Some were wary of the possibility of escalation in their region, and even the prospect of "World War Three" erupting out of Syria.

"If Russia thinks of a military response, this could precipitate a conflict lasting years to come," wrote Abed.

Others mocked Vladimir Putin for his reckless intervention in Syria, saying Russia should have expected such a response from Turkey.

"We should be happy that Turkey downed a plane that came to bomb our children," wrote Hazem.

But there was also some support for Putin on social media, with the Arabic hashtag #Show_Them_Wrath_Putin. Some called on Russia to respond to Turkey.

Sunni Islamists and opponents of the Syrian regime were always more likely to support the Islamist-leaning Turkish government, a vehement opponent of Bashar al-Assad.

But Russian President Putin is also popular among some Arabs who perceive him as an assertive, anti-American leader.