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.
By joining Egypt in designating the group as a terrorist organization, the kingdom may be able to persuade Western governments to blacklist the group
Mediation effort at tribal court spectacular failure as one group resorts to shootings
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Chernomorskoye base on the western edge of the Back Sea peninsula had been taken over without bloodshed, trapping about 30 personnel inside, a border guard spokesman said
Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, vice president since 2009, had been a top commander in the Northern Alliance, a group of anti-Taliban militia leaders, during the civil war
International panel of experts points out that language of hatred similar to that in Myanmar where hundreds are reported to have lost their lives.
Some 4600 Palestinian detainees, including 12 women and 187 children, are currently held in Israeli prisons
The attacker approached a main checkpoint at a northern entrance to the city and detonated the minibus
He accused the Saudi government of allowing "commissions" there "to attract Jihadists, to lure them, to get them fighting in Iraq".
Two police officers were also wounded during the blast when the roadside bomb was detonated by Taliban militants
In Johannesburg's Fordsburg and Mayfair suburbs, businesses were forced to close early for the first time in six years.
The unmanned aerial vehicle, produced by a subsidiary of state-owned aviation giant Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC), disperses fog and smog by releasing a chemical catalyst
The accident took place outside the submarine during testing of a pressure tank at the facility meant for development of submarines
The ballot is likely to consolidate President Juan Manuel Santos as the frontrunner for a second straight term in a presidential vote on May 25, allowing him to continue talks
Despite dozens of military and civilians vessels and aircraft criss-crossing waters to the east and west of Malaysia, no wreckage has been found