IS Captures Jordanian Pilot after Plane Downed over Syria

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  • W460
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The Islamic State group captured a Jordanian pilot on Wednesday after his warplane from the U.S.-led coalition was reportedly shot down while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria.

A senior Jordanian military official confirmed the pilot was seized, saying his plane went down in Syria's Raqa region, a militant stronghold, early on Wednesday.

"The pilot was taken hostage by the IS terrorist organization," official news agency Petra quoted the official as saying.

Jordan did not say why the plane went down, but both the jihadists and a monitoring group said it was shot with an anti-aircraft missile.

It was the first coalition warplane lost since air strikes on IS began in Syria in September.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said its sources confirmed IS had captured the pilot "after shooting his plane down with an anti-aircraft missile near Raqa city."

Coalition warplanes have carried out regular strikes around Raqa, which IS has used as the headquarters for its self-declared "caliphate" after seizing control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The IS branch in Raqa published photographs on jihadist websites purporting to show its fighters holding the captured pilot.

One showed the pilot, wearing only a white shirt, being carried from a body of water by four men. Another showed him on land, surrounded by about a dozen armed men.

A photograph was also released of the pilot's military identification card, showing his name as Maaz al-Kassasbeh, his birth date as May 29, 1988, and his rank of first lieutenant.

The jihadists claimed to have shot down the warplane with a heat-seeking missile.

Images distributed by IS supporters appeared to show the remains of an F-16 fighter jet.

Experts said the missile used may have been taken from Syrian rebels or among weapons captured from Syrian and Iraqi troops.

Eliot Higgins, who posts detailed analyses of weapons in Syria and other conflicts on his blog, said IS is known to have several kinds of anti-aircraft weapons including Chinese-made and Soviet-era missiles.

The pilot's father Youssef was quoted by Jordanian news website Saraya as saying the family had been informed by the air force of his capture.

He said the military promised it was "working to save his life" and that Jordan's ruler, King Abdullah II, was following events.

Jordan is among a number of countries that have joined the U.S.-led alliance carrying out air strikes against IS.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain are taking part in the air strikes in Syria alongside the United States.

The Sunni extremist IS has committed widespread atrocities in areas under its control, including mass executions and public beheadings.

In Iraq a suicide bomber on Wednesday attacked Sunni fighters opposed to IS as they gathered to receive salaries south of Baghdad, killing at least 26 people, officials said.

The coalition first launched strikes against IS in August in Iraq, where the jihadists overran the country's Sunni heartland weeks earlier in a major offensive.

Iraqi security forces, backed by the strikes, have launched a counter-offensive to retake some areas but have been facing stiff resistance from the entrenched IS militants.

Some local Sunni militia have joined the fight against IS and Wednesday's attack near a military base in the Madain area targeted Sunni fighters known as Sahwa.

The attack also wounded at least 56 people, officials said. It was unclear how many of the victims were Sahwa fighters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but suicide bombings are a tactic almost exclusively employed by Sunni extremists in Iraq, including IS.

The Sahwa, or "Awakening" in Arabic, date back to the height of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, when Sunni tribesmen joined forces with the Americans to battle insurgents including IS's predecessor organization, the Islamic State of Iraq.

The Sahwa were key to sharply reducing violence, but when Iraq's government took over responsibility for their salaries they were sometimes paid late or not at all.

Comments 15
Thumb EagleDawn 24 December 2014, 11:08

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.... hmmmm.... I wonder if the hasaballah group will consider it credible information?

Thumb _mowaten_ 24 December 2014, 11:38

i know it's hard for you, but try to grasp the concept, but not everything is totally black or totally white. or, in plain language so you dont get confused: not everything they say is true, and not everything they say is wrong.

so, how do you know then? you see if there are any corroborating sources, any visible evidence (i.e.: pictures, videos), and if those who would not like that information out still confirm it, then you can consider it credible. capisce?

Thumb EagleDawn 24 December 2014, 11:41

thank you crusher aka mowaten... aka... when the observatory reports on barrel bombs dropped on syrian cities killing women and children accompanied by pictures of dead bodies then it is not credible. It is photoshopped as you always said. now, yes capisce mr. linguist...

Thumb _mowaten_ 24 December 2014, 12:32

lol indeed. i can send you thousands of pics like this, and say your stupidity killed them. would that be proof enough for you?

Thumb Mystic 24 December 2014, 12:37

Why doesn't the "honorable" Syrian Observatory, thank the IDF & All of Israel for their open support to the takfiris in Golan? They should make an report about that.

How the "poor" hurt takfiris came into the arms of IDF women, and received medical treatment.

Thumb _mowaten_ 24 December 2014, 15:38

"A senior Jordanian military official confirmed the pilot was seized, saying his plane went down in Syria's Raqa region, a militant stronghold, early on Wednesday."

here eagleyawn, now you can consider the information reliable and your lesson completed, hope you learned something today.

Thumb _mowaten_ 24 December 2014, 16:45

anonyme i dont have time to waste repeating the same things to you over and over again. keep pretending you answer things i supposedly said or didnt say, but do it without me. & merry christmas

Default-user-icon nass1978 (Guest) 25 December 2014, 05:39

Get a life !

Default-user-icon roukuz (Guest) 24 December 2014, 11:32

may you RIP flamethrower

Default-user-icon Michel (Guest) 24 December 2014, 11:39

And MEA keeps on flying over Syria. Wtf!

Default-user-icon puppet (Guest) 24 December 2014, 11:53

I trust news sources coming from Mr. Flamethrower, Mr. Mystic, and their domestic helper Mr. Mowaten. I respect them equally

Thumb Mystic 24 December 2014, 12:38

Right. He probaly knows nothing about Jesus A.S at all.

Thumb megahabib 24 December 2014, 15:14

I bet the Midget King regrets supporting these simians until recently.

Default-user-icon minihabib (Guest) 24 December 2014, 17:51

how tall are you giant?

Missing sanctify 24 December 2014, 20:20

You're sick!