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.
ICRC that international law required warring parties to distinguish between military targets and civilian objects such as schools and to protect the wounded, former combatants and detainees.
Unidentified militants opened fire on MP Sada Ali's vehicle, leaving her dead.
Taiwan media said a domestic flight had crashed, killing or injuring more than 40 people
Protesters defied a ban on pro-Palestine rallies against the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 650 Palestinians, mainly civilians, since July 7.
Witness Yusuf Suleiman, a trader, said that he counted 15 bodies in a police van after the explosion.
Tawfiq Okasha said "The children of Israel completely control the media in Egypt."
"There is a framework... to end the violence, and that framework is the Egyptian initiative," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
"The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) condemns the forced expulsion of the Christian brothers of Iraq from their homes, cities and provinces," the group said in a statement
Firefighters used foam spray to douse the flames at the fuel storage facility, bringing the blaze under control
Iraq's politicians have been deadlocked over forming a new government since an election in April
Ukraine's military operations spokesman said the two were downed near Savur Mogila in eastern Ukraine. No details were known about the pilots.
With so many of their countrymen dead, the Dutch have been taking a leading role in the international effort to recover and identify the bodies and investigate the cause of the crash.
It is Damascus's first reaction to the appointment of Staffan de Mistura by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon two weeks ago
At least 12 Palestinians were killed in Israeli artillery shelling of eastern Khan Younis city in southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
The Obama administration has been seeking to deal with a surge of undocumented children across the southern border.
Last month, rumours sprang up of a plot against the Aquino administration because of the fund scandal