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Tags: Iraq | Syria | conflict | US | Jordan

Jordan Vows 'All Efforts' to Save Pilot Seized by ISIS

Thursday, 25 December 2014 03:41 PM

Jordan vowed Thursday to make every effort to save a pilot captured by the Islamic State group in Syria as Washington denied claims the jihadists had shot down his warplane.

Maaz al-Kassasbeh, a 26-year-old first lieutenant in the Jordanian air force, was captured by ISIS on Wednesday after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria.

It was the first warplane lost and the first capture of a serviceman since the coalition launched strikes against ISIS in Syria in September.

It was also a major propaganda victory for the Sunni extremist group, which released photographs parading the captured pilot.

"The Jordanian government ... is making all efforts with several crisis cells to free (the pilot)," government daily Al-Rai said.

"We are confident that our brave one will be released. He has not been forgotten."

The pilot's father, Safi al-Kassasbeh, urged ISIS to show "mercy" and treat his son a "guest".

"We consider Maaz a guest in the keep of brothers," Kassasbeh told AFP, adding that he was praying for his release.

Jordan, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has joined the U.S.-led coalition carrying out air strikes against ISIS after it seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Kassasbeh's plane went down near the city of Raqa, which ISIS has used as its de facto capital and where coalition warplanes have carried out regular strikes.

The jihadists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the plane was downed by an anti-aircraft missile, raising concerns for other coalition aircraft.

But the U.S. military said "evidence clearly suggests that ISIL did not down the aircraft," using another name for ISIS, without giving a cause for the "crash."

"We strongly condemn the actions of ISIL, which has taken captive the downed pilot," said Central Command chief General Lloyd Austin.

"We will support efforts to ensure his safe recovery, and will not tolerate ISIL's attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes."

Jordan's parliament said it would hold ISIS "responsible for safeguarding the life" of Kassasbeh, describing him as a "hero."

 

 

ISIS posted pictures online showing its fighters holding the pilot.

One showed a man being carried from a body of water by gunmen. Another showed the same man on land, surrounded by almost a dozen militants.

Messages of support for the pilot flooded Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag "We are all Maaz al-Kassasbeh."

Analyst Mohamed Abu Rummaneh, from the University of Jordan, said he did not expect Amman to reconsider its role in the anti-ISIS coalition.

"A large majority of Jordanians, nearly 90 percent according to polls, consider Daesh (another name for ISIS) to be an enemy," he said.

But political commentator Labib al-Kamhawi said the government would come under pressure to pull out of the coalition "if, God forbid, anything adverse happened to the pilot."

© AFP 2022


GlobalTalk
Jordan vowed Thursday to make every effort to save a pilot captured by the Islamic State group in Syria as Washington denied claims the jihadists had shot down his warplane.Maaz al-Kassasbeh, a 26-year-old first lieutenant in the Jordanian air force, was captured by ISIS on...
Iraq, Syria, conflict, US, Jordan
482
2014-41-25
Thursday, 25 December 2014 03:41 PM
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