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.
A bomb has exploded at a mosque in Saudi Arabia, with reports of injured.
Yemeni army forces have taken control of a strategic military base in Saudi Arabia, as Riyadh continues its military aggression against Yemen.
ISIL has claimed responsibility in a mosque attack in Yemen, 13 people were wounded.
Jordan has said said that the problems of the Middle East can be solved by using the strengths of the countries in the region.
The Houthi forces have placed a condition that they will join the Geneva meeting later this month on the condition that there is ceasefire by the Saudi's.
ISIL has seized the last border crossing between Syria and Iraq, taking over more than 50% of Syria.
Saudi shells hit Yemen international aid office, killing 5 Ethiopian refugees.
On Sunday, ISIL took control of Ramadi after overrunning Iraqi forces in the area and are now in full control after local police and Iraqi army forces withdrew from the city.
Palmyra is a strategic military gain, home to modern army installations and situated on a desert highway linking the capital Damascus with Syria's eastern provinces.
The ancient city of Palymyra has fallen to ISIL with Assad forces trapped in DerzZor
President El-Sisi has met with US Central Command head General Austin in Cairo
The UK had condemned the regime's use of barrel bombs after mobile phone video footage emerged showing barrel bombs being dropped from a helicopter.
Head of European Union delegation to Iraq said a new representative office will be opened in Iraq with the aim of improving relations with Kurdish region
Syrian has evacuated citizens from the ancient city of Palmyra on Wednesday after ISIL infiltrated the ancient city.