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Syrian Pilot Defects in His MiG

Alexander Reed Kelly
Associate Editor
In December 2010, Alex was arrested for civil disobedience outside the White House alongside Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, healthcare activist Margaret Flowers and…
Alexander Reed Kelly

A Syrian fighter pilot landed his MiG-21 at Jordan’s King Hussein military base Thursday morning after abandoning a training exercise. His defection is believed to be the first involving a Syrian military aircraft since the uprising began 16 months ago.

The event will complicate Syrian-Jordanian relations. Jordan has received upward of 125,000 Syrian refugees, including military and police officials whom the Syrian government have asked to be returned. The countries did an estimated $470 million in trade in 2011 and, lacking access to the Mediterranean, Jordan is dependent on routes through Syria for exports.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

BBC:

The Russian-made MiG-21 landed at the King Hussein Air Base in Mafraq, close to the Syrian border, officials said.

It is believed to be the first such defection by a Syrian pilot with his plane.

A spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army, Ahmad Kassem, said the group had encouraged the pilot to defect, the Associated Press news agency reported.

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