World Bulletin/News Desk
A Syrian astronaut who was part of a Soviet space mission a quarter of a century ago condemned the world's failure to stem violence in his home country on Friday and urged President Bashar al-Assad's opponents to keep up their struggle.
General Muhammed Ahmed Faris, a military aviator and the first Syrian in space, fled to Turkey 10 days ago, joining the ranks of prominent defectors who have included military generals and former Prime Minister Riyad Hijab.
"I decided to defect from the regime several months ago, but I was kept under surveillance and it prevented me from defecting immediately," Faris told Reuters, saying that seeing an 8-month-old child wounded by shrapnel had been the final straw.
"For the world, you watch us while we are dying and your silence is a crime, but we will succeed anyway."
Faris, 61, flew with a Soviet crew to the space station Mir in 1987 and was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union after the journey. He also received the Order of Lenin.
Moscow's support for Syria's government has been criticised by Western nations since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011. Russia and China have vetoed three Western-backed United Nations Security Council resolutions criticising Damascus and threatening sanctions.
The conflict between Assad's forces and rebels is intensifying. More than 250 people, including 123 civilians, were killed in Syria on Thursday alone, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based opposition watchdog.
Turkey is taking the brunt of a swelling exodus of refugees, with 66,000 Syrians now sheltering there, according to the Turkish state disaster and emergency authority.
Resolution calls on Assad government, Daesh and foreign fighters to halt bloodshed.
Russian finance minister says deal with Kiev 'not done on a commercial basis because of the risks it carries'.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the funds would be sent for humanitarian reasons and "Israel's interests", without saying whether the transfer would be repeated.
Sierra Leone, the country worst-affected by the disease, has reported nearly 12,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths since the epidemic was declared a year ago.
"The Israeli occupation has agreed to extend a direct natural gas pipeline to operate Gaza's power plant," Haniyeh said in a Friday sermon delivered at a Gaza mosque.
Saad asserted that the army had sent reinforcements and was planning to send more troops to the restive area to secure the elections
An East Africa regional bloc on Friday signed two agreements with international partners to provide support for "drought resilience" activities.
Al-Shabab gunmen fought their way into a popular hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, trapping government officials inside, police said. "Al Shabaab fighters are on the top of the building and inside the hotel," Major Ismail Olow , a police officer, told Reuters. "Some government officials are inside the hotel."
Digital magazine "Haqiqah" aims to combat Internet presence of extremist groups, such as Daesh.
"Internal and international flights heading to and from southern airports in the kingdom have gradually resumed since dawn Friday," Saudi's civil aviation authority said in a statement.
Iran and six powers demand mutual concessions in tense nuclear talks with end-March deadline for preliminary deal and full deal would follow by end of June.
Opposition forces also seize control of 15 regime security points and besiege central area of Idlib, opposition officials say.
Output rose threefold since 2010 with exports go to 60 countries, including U.S, Saudi Arabia
"We are hoping the decision would lead to more stable relations with Egypt," Abu Zuhri told The Anadolu Agency on Friday.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is opposed a two-stage agreement in the ongoing nuclear negotiation with the US and EU representatives, rejecting a US daily claim to the contrary, said an Iranian source close to the negotiation team in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The group that began in Germany who started in Montreal 3 months ago have organised a walk in Montreal this weekend. Many are against the group with an anti-PEGIDA protest set to take place at the same time and place as the PEGIDA demonstration, on Saturday at 4 p.m.