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.
Two South Koreans, two Chinese and two Indonesian fishermen were rescued, while the 18 Sierra Leonean fishermen who also worked on the ship were not on board at the time
Brown, a Scot, will make his first speech in support of the cross-party Better Together campaign, warning Scots of a possible deficit in pension funds if they opt out of the 307-year old union
Police were guarding the spot in West Wellow, Hampshire, southern England, where the thieves are thought to have tapped into the 14-inch pipeline
Libyan gunmen have seized two Tunisian diplomats in the past month to demand the release of fellow militants jailed in Tunisia
Russian Internet channel Life News posted video of her being escorted by masked men in combat gear and of an activist saying she was under arrest
International powers who back his opponents have described plans to hold the election as a "parody of democracy"
"I have signed a decree to rehabilitate the Crimean Tatar population, the Armenian population, Germans, Greeks - all those who suffered during Stalin's repressions," Putin told a State Council meeting.
A Somali lawmaker was killed in central Mogadishu when a bomb planted in his car went off
7.5 million Catalonians look set to vote in favor of independence later this years despite firm dissaproval from Spain's Constitutional Court.
UK premier David Cameron has been accused of fostering division in society with an article published in a Christian newspaper.
It was said that the strikes were in response to the firing earlier of six rockets from Gaza into southern Israel.
"Steps are being taken - above all by those who seized power in Kiev - not only that do not fulfil, but that crudely violate the Geneva agreement," he said.
A row between the two countries on Ethiopia's controversial multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the Nile River has been at the center of a crisis in bilateral relations.
Grand Mufti Mohammed Hussein said he was present at Sunday's protests and said police "threw the sound bombs into the (al-Aqsa) mosque itself".
The Sunday raids came only one day after another drone attack on an Al-Qaeda hideout in the central Al-Bayda' province left ten rebels and three civilians dead, according to a security source.
The deal was struck within the framework of peace talks between Hamas and Fatah.