June 21, 2012
June 21, 2012
A Syrian air force Russian-made MiG, which was reported missing by Syrian state TV on Thursday afternoon amid reports that its pilot had defected to Jordan, made an emergency landing at a military base in the neighboring country, reports AFP.
Syrian state television named the pilot as Colonel Hassan Hamada, saying communications were lost with his plane while he was on a training mission near the border with Jordan.
Hamada has asked for political asylum in Jordan, the country’s Minister of State for Information Samih al-Maaytah said.
“The Syrian air force Russian-made MiG made an emergency landing at the King Hussein air base in Mafraq,” in northern Jordan near the border with Syria.
“[The pilot] is being debriefed at the moment,” Maaytah told Reuters.
Syrian state television said communication was lost with a plane of the same model at 10:34 a.m. .
The Syrian National Council claims the pilot had defected but there was no official confirmation of such reports.
Activists said this was the first defection involving an aircraft since the start of the 15-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
More than 120,000 Syrians fleeing the violence in their homeland have taken refuge in Jordan, according to the Amman government. The United Nations has registered 20,000 of them.
More than 15,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Thursday.
Source: Alarabiya with agencies