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article imageSyrian Air Force Pilot defects to Jordan

By Paul Iddon     Jun 21, 2012 in Politics
A Syrian Air Force pilot has flown his MiG-21 jet fighter to Jordan and is at present seeking asylum according to Jordanian officials.
This news was revealed by Jordan's Minister of Information Samih al-Maaytah who said the pilot is present being debriefed. Syrian state TV has also recently reported that one of its fighter planes -- piloted by an air force colonel -- had gone missing during a training mission.
According to Syrian State TV this pilots name is Colonel Hassan Hamada. Maaytah has stated that he is currently being debriefed.
Hamada landed in Jordan's King Hussein Air Base in Mafraq which is situated near the Syrian border according to reports from BBC News, Reuters and Yahoo respectively.
This incident represents the first confirmed defection of an air force personnel during the now 15-month old uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad's regime. It is also similar to an incident that took part at the beginning of the Libyan Civil War which saw a fully armed Libyan Dassault Mirage F-1 jet fighter refuse orders and subsequent defect to Malta.
A spokesman for the the Free Syrian Army has stated that the group had encourage the pilot to defect. At present it is unclear if this is a single case or if more Syrian Air Force personnel will soon follow suit.
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