Captured Syrian pilot urges Assad soldiers to ‘defect’


The pilot of a warplane that the Free Syrian Army claimed to have downed Monday in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor was captured by a rebel group . He reportedly told other soldiers who are loyal to Syrian president Bashar al Assad to “defect” to the opposition.

In a video that was shown by the rebels the pilot identified himself as Colonel Staff Pilot Mufeed Mohammed Suleiman and said in the video that he was “ordered to bomb the city of Mohassen.”

The pilot, who has a light beard and was wearing a dark blue shirt also said. “The wounds on my face were caused by the strong wind that forced me on to stones after I ejected from my plane.”

“My plane was shot down, 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 malfunction.

“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.

ITV, Time