- Bashar al-Assad - civil war - Syria - unrest
Conflicting claims follow crash of Syrian military jet
A Syrian military jet crashed in eastern Syria on Monday after reporting technical problems, state media reported, while anti-regime rebels claimed they had downed the plane and captured its pilot.
AFP - A group of Syrian rebels said they captured the pilot of a warplane that the Free Syrian Army claimed to have downed Monday in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
A video distributed by the "Revolutionary Youth of the Land of the Euphrates" shows a man identified as pilot Mufid Mohammed Suleiman, surrounded by three armed men. "My mission was to bomb the town of Muhasen" in Deir Ezzor, said the man.
The man, who has a light beard and is wearing a dark blue shirt, is seated at a table. "The wounds on my face were caused by the strong wind that forced me on to stones after I ejected from my plane," he said.
"The revolutionaries have treated me well and they gave me first aid assistance," he added. "They are good people."
In the same video, a captain in uniform introduced himself as Abul Laith, chief of the Ahfad Mohammed (Mohammed's Descendants) Brigade. "We will treat this prisoner in accordance with our religion and our ethics and the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners."
On Monday, Syria's rebels claimed they downed a military warplane in Deir Ezzor province after state media said a jet had crashed after suffering technical problems.
"Yes, we can confirm that a MiG 21 has been downed," said Free Syrian Army spokesman Kassem Saadeddine. "It was hit with a 14.5 calibre anti-aircraft machinegun."
A Britain-based watchdog also backed the claim.