Syrian rebels claim capture of pilot

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IOL news aug 13  Mideast Syria~4 AP This image made from amateur video released by the R.Y.E. Syria purports to show a Syrian plane downed over the eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

Beirut -

A group of Syrian rebels said they captured the pilot of a warplane that the Free Syrian Army claimed to have downed on Monday in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

A video distributed by the “Revolutionary Youth of the Land of the Euphrates” shows a man identified as pilot Mufid Mohammed Suleiman, surrounded by three armed men. “My mission was to bomb the town of Muhasen” in Deir Ezzor, said the man.

The man, who has a light beard and is wearing a dark blue shirt, is seated at a table. “The wounds on my face were caused by the strong wind that forced me on to stones after I ejected from my plane,” he said.

“The revolutionaries have treated me well and they gave me first aid assistance,” he added. “They are good people.”

In the same video, a captain in uniform introduced himself as Abul Laith, chief of the Ahfad Mohammed (Mohammed's Descendants) Brigade. “We will treat this prisoner in accordance with our religion and our ethics and the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners.”

On Monday, Syria's rebels claimed they downed a military warplane in Deir Ezzor province after state media said a jet had crashed after suffering technical problems.

“Yes, we can confirm that a MiG 21 has been downed,” said Free Syrian Army spokesman Kassem Saadeddine. “It was hit with a 14.5 calibre anti-aircraft machinegun.”

A Britain-based watchdog also backed the claim. - Sapa-AFP

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