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.
UN has called for an immediate ceasefire between Libya's warring factions.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement secretary general Ramadan Shalahk said that they discussed opening the Rafah border crossing and acceleration relations with Egypt over Egyptian court ruling designating Hamas as a "Terrorist Organization"
Israel, Iran tight-lipped on decades-old arbitration with pressure in Israel to remove secrecy
Escalation of diplomatic tension requires US travelers to apply for visa before entering Venezuela.
Indian foreign secretary resumes peace talks with Pakistan after the talks were suspended in last August due to diplomatic row related to disputed Kashmir region
District of Zengilan, which was formed in 1930, is an administrative region of Azerbaijan Republic and has been occupied by Armenia since 2013.
Some Jordanian MPs condemn Israeli attempt after Israel commission has offered the inclusion of Jerusalem's Lifta and Ein Karem villages on UNESCO's World Heritage List as 'Jewish historical sites'
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says Hamas is holding contacts with Egyptian authorities in hopes redressing the court ruling.
The volcano is one of South America's most active with over 3,000 people evacuated after overnight eruption
According to Syrian official news Bashar al-Assad received Homeland Party chairman Dogu Perincek and delegation in Damascus.
The Libyan army related to Libya's Tobruk based government bombed Mitiga International Airport
Uganda denied the allegations and has called for people to reject the lie - senior Sudanese officials have been alarmed at Uganda hosting Sudanese rebels.
Two planes carrying military aid land in Baghdad and have delivered much needed supplies and was handed over by Ambassador Kaymakci to Iraq Defence Officials.
The three students were detained after being beaten by Jewish settlers while on their way to the Ibrahimiya School in the West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron), the ministry said
Iran was believed to have executed at least 500 people between January and November 2014 and possibly many more, the report said. Most victims did not get a fair trial and over 80 percent of those executed were drug offenders, it said.
Victims were amongst 130 abducted civilians accused of cooperating with Iraqi security authorities.