Skip to comments.Syrian fighter pilot defects to Jordan, gets asylum
Posted on 06/21/2012 1:27:04 PM PDT by moonshot925
(Reuters) - A Syrian air force pilot flew his MiG-21 fighter plane over the border to Jordan and was granted political asylum on Thursday, the first defection with a military aircraft since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The pilot landed at the King Hussein military air base 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Amman and immediately asked for sanctuary, Jordanian officials told Reuters.
"The cabinet has decided to grant the Syrian pilot political asylum upon his request," Jordan's Minister of State for Information Samih al-Maaytah told Reuters.
Syria's defense ministry called the pilot a "traitor to his country and his military honor".
In a statement it said it would punish the man, named as Colonel Hassan Hamada, under military law. Syria was in contact with Jordanian authorities to retrieve the aircraft, it added.
The defection will boost the morale of the rebel movement fighting Assad at a time when government forces are intensifying efforts to crush the uprising and international peace efforts are stalled.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
On 1517 August 1968, The pilots of nine Syrian MiG-17s and three MiG-21s defected to Iraq after failing in a coup attempt.
On 14 June 1976, A Palestinian pilot in the Syrian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant Mahmoud Musleh Yasin, defected to Iraq with his MiG-23 Flogger.
On 27 July 1976, Syrian pilot Captain Abdul Qadar Al-Termanini, the "October war" hero, defected to Iraq with his MiG-21 fighter jet.
On 11 October 1989, Syrian pilot Abdel Bassem landed his MiG-23ML in Israel.
Dude knew he’s about to soon face the Israeli Air Force and didn’t want to die.
They’re still using MiG-21’s? They would be about as effective as Nieuport 17’s against today’s Israeli Air Force.
The bulk of the Syrian Air Force is Mig-21’s and Mig-23’s.
In June 1982 the Israeli Air Force destroyed 86 Syrian aircraft during the battle of Bekaa Valley with no losses of their own. Most of them were Mig-21’s and Mig-23’s.
The pilot’s name is Col. Hassan Merei al-Hamade and he has been granted asylum on humanitarian grounds.
He is a big fish, head of pilot training.