Syrian astronaut vows to support revolution as he asks people of Syria to be patient and continue their struggle.
The first Syrian in space, General Muhammed Ahmed Faris, pledged to fight for revolution on Friday ten days after defecting from Assad regime and fleeing to Turkey.
A military aviator, Faris said he would contribute to the revolution with his words.
“One can help the revolution by using words or by using arms. Me, I have chosen the words. As the first and only spaceman of Syria, I have decided to join the opposition and stand against the regime and I believe that my words will help a great deal to the revolution. I have decided to speak out,” Faris said.
Faris said the ordeal of an eight-month-old toddler forced him to defect from the regime.
“I decided to defect from the regime several months ago but I was kept under surveillance and it prevented me from defecting immediately.
For months I have been seeing the bombardments, they were killing women and children with helicopters and planes, but the moment I said to myself ‘enough is enough’ was when a fragment from a helicopter hit an eight-month-old toddler and destroyed her hand. I had never seen anything like that before. So for me there were no more crimes to watch. That is why at that moment I told myself enough,” he said.
Faris called on people of Syria to be patient and continue their struggle for freedom.
“To Syrian people, I ask them to be patient to the regime because they have reason, they have chosen freedom, they are asking for freedom, human rights and justice and they have every right to ask for these basic principles,” he said. "But they have to be patient.”
The 61-year-old astronaut is a graduate of Aleppo military pilot school and together with a Soviet crew he flew to the orbiting space station Mir in 1987 and was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He also received the Order of Lenin.