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.
Saudi Arabia's King said he was heartbroken over a suicide bombing that killed 21 people, and adding that Saudi Arabia would never stop fighting armed group.
Opposition activists have said on social media that hundreds of bodies were in the streets of the city after it was seized
KDPI says PKK attacked a group of their Peshmerge on the Iran-iraq border, killed one and injured two.
The Egyptian-led drive called for tasking the UN secretary general with convening an international conference on making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone by March 2016.
Iran's oil minister says OPEC unlikely to change its production ceiling
The delegation, contained Houthi spokesman and the head of the Houthi political council, was paying a visit to the sultanate at an invitation from it.
Philippine foreign department to appeal for Jennifer Dalquez, whose mother says she stabbed employer who attempted to rape her.
The Israeli army detained two Palestinian youths on the Gaza border
The contents of an Iranian aid ship will not be carried by Yemen but will be transferred to a World Food Program ship instead.
Barrel bombs have killed 14 people including children in a residential area in Deir Ez-Zor
The US and allies have staged 22 strikes near Ramadi since Friday
17 Egyptians were acquitted of charges of violating Egypt's protest law.
In meetings last week in Amman, the US ambassador on behalf of Israel, offered the use of Iron Dome technology to defend its border with Yemen where there is ongoing conflict
An Egyptian court has adjourned the Hamas lawsuit case until June 6.
Reports are coming in with witnesses saying that ISIL has raised their flag over Palmyra
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has denounced the bombing of worshippers by an ISIL-linked group.