Fighter jet crashes in eastern Syria
13 August 2012
A Syrian government fighter jet has crashed in the east of the country, with rebel groups claiming responsibility and the government blaming a 'technical problem' for bringing the aircraft down.
The jet, believed to be a Mig-21 or 23, is said to feature in shaky video footage released online by rebel groups earlier today.
It came down early on 13 August in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, and Syria's state-run news agency, Sana, said that problems with the plane's control systems during a "training mission" forced the pilot to eject.
The Syrian government has used fighter jets to attack rebel forces on the ground in recent months, although it is not clear what this jet was doing in the region.
A search was said to be under way for the pilot, however the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) later released a video of the crash site and footage of a man said to be the pilot, a colonel, being held captive. A second crew member was said to have died in the incident.
At least one Syrian rebel has been pictured with what appears to be an SA-7 Grail shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missile in recent weeks, but FSA officials have said that they do not possess anti-air weapons and that the jet was brought down by machine gun fire.
On 21 June a Syrian Mig-21 and its crew flew to Jordan and defected in protest at more than a year of violence in the country. Jordan has reportedly refused Syria's requests to allow pro-regime pilots to retrieve the plane, and is said to be insisting on dismantling it and returning it by road.