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.
The motion enables Turkish government to deploy troops in Iraq and Syria for another year
Ongoing airstrikes in northwestern Idlib province leave 35 civilians dead within last 96 hours
Rebel leaders have yet to comment on army’s assertions
The referendum runs against the constitution of Iraq, says Organization of Islamic Cooperation
State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday.
Friends raised the alarm after being unable to reach Aroubeh Barakat and her daughter Halla Barakat by telephone.
Joint statement issued after foreign ministers' meeting voices 'unequivocal' opposition
Three years ago, Shia Houthi militia group and their allies overran much of the country, including the capital
Families will be allowed into the King Fahd stadium in Riyadh, used mostly for football matches, and seated separately from single men to mark the kingdom's 87th National Day this weekend.
Despite PKK’s terror campaign in Turkey, US continues to supply PYD – the PKK’s Syrian affiliate – with weapons
Three high-level Catalan politicians reportedly detained in attempts to block 'illegal' independence referendum
Sisi emphasised the importance of "resuming negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides to reach a comprehensive solution," the statement said.
Decision would ‘yield no results for the United States', Iranian president says
Israeli media reported that it had fired a Patriot missile. No casualties or damage were reported.
KRG's economic clout, driven by oil revenue, could be at risk if Turkey objects to independence vote, energy expert says
7 others also injured in attack on village in northwestern Idlib province