Tags: Syria | conflict | jihadists | Raqa | jet

Jordan Pilot Ejected Over Syria After 'Technical Failure'

Friday, 26 Dec 2014 12:04 PM

Technical failure caused a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State group jihadists in Syria to eject after flying at low altitude, activists and a monitoring group told AFP on Friday.

Maaz al-Kassasbeh "was flying at a high altitude to start with. He hit the brick factory and then disappeared from sight," said Obada al-Hussein, an activist from ISIS-held Raqa who spoke to AFP via the Internet.

Raqa is the self-proclaimed ISIS "capital."

"Then the plane flew back, and this time smoke was coming out of it. I believe there was a technical failure," Hussein said.

Another activist from the city, Abu Ibrahim, also spoke of a "technical failure."

"The plane fell in an area called Hamra Ghannam, in the eastern countryside of Raqa," said Abu Ibrahim, who fled ISIS persecution in Raqa but who continues to be well informed on events there.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gave a similar account.

"Sources in the area saw the plane flying very low. There was a technical failure. The sources then saw ISIS members fire heavy machine guns and shoulder-fired missiles at the plane," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

"The pilot ejected, after the technical problem made it impossible for him to return to a higher altitude," he added.

Nael Mustafa, another Raqa activist, told AFP: "The pilot was at a low altitude, and then IS fire hit his plane."

Their accounts came hours after the Jordanian military denied ISIS claims that it shot down one of its warplanes.

The U.S. military has also dismissed the jihadists' claim to have hit the jet with an anti-aircraft missile, saying "evidence clearly suggests that ISIL (ISIS) did not down the aircraft".

The crash was the first warplane from the U.S.-led coalition lost since airstrikes on ISIS began in Syria in September, and marks a major propaganda victory for the Sunni extremist group.

Jordan is among a number of countries that have joined the air raids against ISIS.

Coalition warplanes have carried out regular strikes around Raqa, which IS has used as its de facto capital since declaring a "caliphate" in June straddling large parts of Iraq and Syria.

© AFP 2017

 
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MiddleEast
Technical failure caused a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State group jihadists in Syria to eject after flying at low altitude, activists and a monitoring group told AFP on Friday.
Syria, conflict, jihadists, Raqa, jet
356
2014-04-26
Friday, 26 Dec 2014 12:04 PM
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