Damascus: Syria's first man in space has fled to Turkey and joined opposition forces fighting the regime of President Bashar-al-Assad.
Mohammad Ahmad Faris, 61, crossed into Turkey after reaching the headquarters of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, Syria, meeting with rebel commanders there, and declaring his solidarity with the umbrella group of rebel fighters.
"We are with you with our lives and blood," Christian Science Monitor quoted Faris as telling members of the Free Syrian Army.
Faris crossed into Turkey on Sunday, but Mahmut Osman, an Istanbul-based member of the Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Council, said he had arrived in the country on Saturday and would hold a news conference in Istanbul in the coming days.
Mahmut Osman, an Istanbul-based member of the Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Council, has not disclosed Faris'' whereabouts, the report said.
It was Faris' fourth attempt to defect, after three previous efforts had failed, the report added.
Faris joins a string of high-profile figures, including senior army officers, who have abandoned Assad's regime since the uprising began in March 2011.
Faris, an air force pilot, was part of the three-man crew of a Soviet space mission in 1987 and Syria’s first man in space.
First Published: Monday, August 06, 2012, 22:13