Entries in Fighter Pilot (2)


US Lauds Syrian Pilot's Defection

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon on Thursday praised the bravery of a Syrian Air Force pilot, who defected to Jordan in a Russian-made fighter jet.

At a press briefing, spokesman George Little told reporters, "We have long called for members of the Syrian armed forces and members of the Syrian regime to defect and abandon their positions rather than be complicit in the regime's atrocities."

Little was unable to say if the U.S. would be allowed to interview the pilot, identified as Col.l Hassan Merhi al-Hamadah by the Syrian Ministry of Defense.

The pilot isn't the first to desert the Syrian government and military, Little said, who predicted that others would follow suit as they reject the violent policies of President Bashar al-Assad.

Al-Hamadah won't have to worry about retribution from his country as Jordan quickly announced that it was granting him asylum.

While the pilot's motivation for defecting was not known, it's believed he may have been responding to a report that the air force was getting ready to use fighter jets against Syrians.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syrian Fighter Pilot Defects, Asks for Asylum in Jordan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- A Syrian fighter pilot has defected and requested political asylum in neighboring Jordan.

The colonel was flying a training mission in southern Syria in a MiG-21 Thursday morning when he went missing.  Syria's state news agency reported that it lost contact with the pilot before Jordanian officials confirmed the pilot landed at a military base in Mafraq, Jordan.  

The Syrian opposition claimed to have encouraged him to defect.  It's the first defection of its kind in the country's 16-month uprising that has already claimed between 12,000 and 14,000 lives.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio