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Syria's first astronaut reflects on his journey to space 35 years ago

Muhammed Faris (R) is seen during the spaceflight aboard the Soyuz TM-3, July 1987.

The documentary "The Syrian Cosmonaut" (2022) opens with an animated scene showing Muhammed Faris hopping across the screen as if he was on the moon instead of in Istanbul being chased by assassins. Faris, the real-life spaceman, donned in black, is then seen looking into the camera, saying, “This is Syria’s story, not just mine.”

Faris became a Syrian national hero when he participated in the Interkosmos program in July 1987, becoming the first Syrian in space. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad had crushed a major insurrection by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama a few years prior and wanted to reassert Syria onto the world stage through the Soviet-Syrian space expedition. 

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