Monday, 6 March 2017

Downed Syrian pilot on the run in Turkey after evading crash site search

The first photos has emerged of a Syrian pilot who safely ejected from his crashing jet and parachuted in Turkish territory.
The pilot was conducting operations against terrorist positions in Idlib province, when an engine failure caused his jet to crash, despite terrorist groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, claiming credit for downing the aircraft.
The downed pilot intelligently managed to parachute safely into Turkey, where under international law, he had to be given treatment and human rights maintained. Had he landed in militant-held Idlib province, he would surely have been executed like many of his captured comrades have.
A Turkish rescue team found the pilot in Altinözü District of Hatay’s province and took him for treatment in a hospital.
Meanwhile, a recording of the last recording between the Syrian pilot and his airbase, which confirms that his jet was downed by an engine failure and not by militants, as they tried to claim.
The recording was uploaded by militants in Idlib who with sophisticated technology were able to tune into the exchange with the pilot and the airbase.
New photos of the crash site has also emerged.
On Saturday afternoon, a pilot of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) found his MiG-23 unable to maintain altitude due to technical failure and radar issues while conducting an air raid north of Idlib; subsequently, the troubled pilot ejected from the aircraft while the warplane crashed in Hatay province.
Minutes later, Turkish security forces reached the crash site and discovered the MiG-23 in tatters. However, the pilot himself was not in the cockpit and nowhere to be found, according to the Governor of Hatay province.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Crashsite of downed MiG-23 (previously reported as MiG-21) in Hatay province. SyAAF pilot is yet to be found or detained, may be on the run.
 Shortly after, the Syrian Government released a statement on the incident indicating that the pilot had landed on Syrian territory.
Nevertheless, this appears to be an unlikely scenario as the Turkish Armed Forces discovered an abandoned parachute near the crash site in a forest in the Altınözü district.

Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News

Rumours indicate that the SyAAF pilot has escaped the crash site and either fled by vehicle or gone into hiding. Hatay province holds a large population of Alawites who tend to be pro-Syrian; thus, speculations suggest that local villagers are aiding the pilot.
The Turkish Army and General Directorate of Security (police force) have now put the area on lockdown in an attempt to track down the pilot. His fate remains undetermined and he may be captured in the coming hours.
Hatay governorate is refered to by Syrians as ‘Liwa Iskenderun’. The province was annexed by Turkey during a controversial referendum in 1939. Damascus does not recognize Hatay as sovereign Turkish territory and still lays claim to the province.

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