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.
Anan Abu Saleh, 19, has been detained at a checkpoint near Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque Complex.
Six Bulgarian U.N. aid workers who were detained by rebels in Sudan's strife-torn South Kordofan region have been released, the Bulgarian foreign ministry said Sunday
Up to 13,000 march for greater democracy in first protest since last year's Umbrella Movement
Sixty-two percent favoured Greece staying in the 19-country currency union.
Jordan's security and military agencies were making constant checks to see whether the pilot, Muath al-Kasaesbeh, was still alive
All eyes on PM's keynote speech on Monday
An online video released Saturday purports to show the beheading of journalist Kenji Goto.
EDL’s demo will host not only the league’s so-called "divisions" of activists but also Islam-hating members of Polish, Belgium and Scottish "Defence Leagues" as well as Britain First, described by critics as a "fascist squad" and a newly founded organization which imitates the anti-Islamic movement which has rapidly gained support recently in Germany - Pegida UK.
Accusations of such mass atrocities by Shi'ite militias threaten to undermine Abadi's efforts to win Sunni Muslim support to battle ISIS, which grabbed large parts of northern and western Iraq last year.
Thousands of people including Ak Party deputies took to the streets in Erzurum province.
Tens of thousands marched in Madrid on Saturday in the biggest show of support yet for anti-austerity party Podemos, whose surging popularity and policies have drawn comparisons with Greece's new Syriza rulers.
The attacks were claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a movement that has changed its name to "Welayet Sinai" (the State of Sinai) in 2014 after it swore allegiance to the ISIS.
Three other Palestinians were detained in Israeli raids in Hebron and Aroub refugee camp in the south
Prime minister's speech may have been catalyst to hostage crisis, media suggests