First Arab set for ISS says voyage will make ‘history’

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From left, UAE astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and US astronaut Jessica Meir, members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), and UAE astronaut Sultan Al-Neyadi, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov and US astronaut Thomas Marshburn, members of the back up crew attend a news conference trough a safety glass in Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (AP)
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The rocket is set to blast into space from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. (@astro_hazzaa)
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Member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS) United Arab Emirates' astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori laughs as he gives a press conference at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 24, 2019. (AFP)
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(FromL) Members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), United Arab Emirates’ astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and US astronaut Jessica Meir pose during a press conference at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 24, 2019. (AFP)
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From left, UAE astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and US astronaut Jessica Meir, members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), and UAE astronaut Sultan Al-Neyadi, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov and US astronaut Thomas Marshburn, members of the back up crew attend a news conference trough a safety glass in Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (AP)
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Russia’s Soyuz-FG booster rocket with the Soyuz MS-15 space ship that will carry new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) is raised upright at the launch pad at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (AP)
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United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori, member of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), walks after a news conference in Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (AP)
Updated 24 September 2019

First Arab set for ISS says voyage will make ‘history’

  • Astronaut Hazzaa Al-Mansoori will make history by becoming the first Arab on the ISS
  • He said the trip was a milestone for his country and the Arab world

MOSCOW: The Emirati astronaut who will make history by becoming the first Arab on the International Space Station said Tuesday he had received support from around the world before his “dream” mission.
Hazza Al-Mansoori, 35, is set to blast into space accompanied by Russia’s Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir onboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
Mansoori, who will spend eight days on the ISS, will be the first Emirati astronaut and the first Arab on the orbiting laboratory, but not the first Muslim.




From left, UAE astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and US astronaut Jessica Meir, members of the main crew to the International Space Station (ISS), pose during a news conference in Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (AP)

“It is really an honor and we are looking forward to make this mission successful and to come back with a lot of knowledge,” the pilot told a pre-flight news conference.
He said the trip was a milestone for his country and the Arab world.
“This achievement will be in history and it will be continued,” he said. “The dream has come true.”

Mansoori said that he would record his prayer routine on the ISS and broadcast it to people on Earth.
“As a fighter pilot I already prayed in my aircraft,” he said, explaining that he had experience of prayers at high speed.
Mansoori also plans to conduct experiments and said he would take Emirati food with him to share with the crew.

Skripochka, first-time flyer Meir and Mansoori will join a six-member crew on the ISS and for a brief period of time the ISS will be home to nine astronauts.
Meir, 42, said it was “quite an achievement” for the United Arab Emirates to have a man in space, given that its program is so new.
She said the crew communicated by using “Runglish” — a mixture of Russian and English.
“We still need to work on our Arabic,” she joked.
Mansoori is set to return to Earth with NASA’s Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin on October 3. Skripochka and Meir are set to remain on the ISS until the spring of 2020.


Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 11 min 42 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

  • Syrian regime also attacked Turkish military posts in violation of cease-fire deal

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in the northwestern region of Idlib, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.

The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.

The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces, the 25th Division, tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.

In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”

 

 

A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”

Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”

At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.

Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.

Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 

According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.

The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.

The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.