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.
Heavy clashes in Yemen has increased the death toll to more than 120, with aid groups not being able to work with so little resources for much longer.
Yemen's President appointed a new commander after the military zone commander prior was killed in clashes with the Houthi in Yemen
Hariri and Hollande spoke about strengthening the capabilities of the Lebanese security forces in order to counter looming threats.
Iran will release the cargo vessel once the shipping firm pays the fine.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that he will send further troops to help soldiers in the town of Jisr al-Shughour
Despite foreign envoys trying to break deadlock, Fatah and Hamas remain at odds.
Qatari authorities arrested a German television crew for filming a documentary without permission. The documentary was screened on Monday and highlighted harsh conditions facing migrant workers in Qatar.
Federica Mogherini, the UN head for foreign policy has said that the conflict has opened the doors for al-Qaeda to "fill in the gaps" as a result of lawlessness in the country
Irans Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stated that Iran will not continue nuclear talks under the shadow of any threats.
Khader Adnan was moved into solitary confinement in Hadrim Israeli prison two weeks ago and has begun a second hunger strike protesting his imprisonment. In 2012, Adnan held a 66-day hunger strike, protesting his continued detention and was released on April 17 that year.
The leader of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has said in a televised speech that his group will launch an attack inside Syria
People have been injured in earthquake that has hit northeastern Iran.
The Gulf summit brings together leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. All but Oman are in the Saudi-led coalition that launched air strikes in Yemen in late March against the Houthi
Hezbollah fighters ambushed a Nusra Front convoy on the outskirts of an east Lebanon border town Tuesday, killing at least a dozen gunmen.
Oil production to be reduced seems unlikely with a meeting for OPEC set for June 5.
Contaminated water, few functioning wells, and electricity that is distributed for only one hour a day has annihilated the Yarmouk refugee camp.