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Syrian pilot defects with jet to Jordan

June 21, 2012 at 7:53 AM

AMMAN, Jordan, June 21 (UPI) -- A Syrian air force pilot flew his MiG-21 fighter to Jordan Thursday and asked for political asylum, Jordanian officials said.

"The jet fighter landed at 10:45 a.m. and the government is currently considering the pilot's request," Samih Maaytah, the Jordanian Minister of Media Affairs and Communication, told The Jordan Times. Maaytah said the pilot landed the jet at the Mafraq air base.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency identified the pilot as Col. Hassan Mirei al-Hamda and said he was on a training mission near the border with Jordan when all communications were lost at 10:34 a.m.

Jordanian military sources told the newspaper Jordanian air force jets accompanied the Syrian plane when it entered Jordan's airspace.

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