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.
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"I think now it's not a question of talking about a ceasefire," Major General Ahmed Assiri said.
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Meshaal, 60, was elected the head of Hamas’ political bureau in 1996
Opposition forces now stand 15 kilometers away from Hama city, which has a military airport
Palestinian prisoners announce three-day hunger strike in protest against Hamdouna's death
The Security Council was set to meet Sunday to discuss the upsurge in violence since the Syrian army announced an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the devastated city.
More than 900 square kilometers have been cleansed of extremists in northern Syria, according to the Turkish army
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says hard to believe US-led coalition forces forgot locations during Sept. 17 airstrike
Egyptian authorities have not yet released any official statement on the reported arrests
Saturday’s verdicts are still subject to appeal
Facing the Senate Armed Services Committer, General Joseph Dunford and Defense Secretary Ash Carter reported on the ongoing military operations and admitted that removing Assad was not a priority for the US
Residential districts pounded by airstrikes, killing and injuring hundreds, with toll expected to rise with survivors claiming the attacks were akin to doomsday
Mr Lavrov laid the blame on the US for failing to control the rebel groups it backs saying there was no other alternative for Syria except for the US-Russia agreement
The Syrian White Helmets have been recognised for "outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians".