Jordan vows ‘every effort’ to save pilot

AMMAN: Jordan vowed Thursday to make every effort to save a pilot captured by the Islamic State group in Syria as Washington denied claims the terrorists shot his warplane out of the sky.


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


“The Jordanian government… is making all efforts with several crisis cells to free (the pilot),” government daily Al-Rai said in an editorial Thursday. “We are confident that our brave one will be released… He has not been forgotten,” it said.


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


The IS and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the plane was brought down by an anti-aircraft missile, raising concerns for other coalition planes flying in the area.


But the US military dismissed the claim, saying “evidence clearly suggests that IS did not down the aircraft.”


“We strongly condemn the actions of IS, which has taken captive the downed pilot,” US Central Command chief Gen. Lloyd Austin said in a statement.


“We will support efforts to ensure his safe recovery, and will not tolerate IS’ attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes.”


The pilot’s father, Youssef, called on IS to show “mercy” on his son and release him.


An activist in Raqqa said IS militants were divided over the fate of the pilot, with more extremist foreign fighters wanting him executed and others wanting him kept alive. There were no further indications Thursday of the pilot’s condition. Despite the loss of the plane, the coalition was reported to have launched further airstrikes.

SOURCE:     http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/news/679846

TRYING TIMES: The father of Jordanian pilot who was captured by Islamic State after his plane came down near Raqqa in Syria speaks on phone as he follows the news of his son in the house of a relative in Amman. (Reuters)

TRYING TIMES: The father of Jordanian pilot who was captured by Islamic State after his plane came down near Raqqa in Syria speaks on phone as he follows the news of his son in the house of a relative in Amman. (Reuters)

Categories: Arab World, Asia, Jordan, Syria

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