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Syria: Rebels claim to capture pilot of downed warplane

Rebel fighters say they shot the plane down earlier using an anti-aircraft weapon.

Anti-Syrian government protesters a a rally in Lebanon in support of Syrian rebel fighters.
Anti-Syrian government protesters a a rally in Lebanon in support of Syrian rebel fighters.
Image: Bilal Hussein/AP/Press Association Images

A GROUP OF SYRIAN rebels claims to have captured the pilot of a military jet they say they shot down today with an anti-aircraft gun.

An unconfirmed video distributed online fighters purportedly shows a man identified as a pilot who says on film that his mission was to bomb the town of Muhasen in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the AFP reports.

The man also says that he is being treated well by his captors and that his facial injuries were caused when strong winds blew him onto stones during his emergency ejection from the plane.

Separately, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said that Obama’s administration “have ruled out no option” in bringing about “the diplomatic transition that is so desperately needed in Syria”.

There is growing speculation that a no-fly zone will be introduced over Syria – similar to that introduced in Libya before Gaddafi was ousted.

However, Carney did not specifically address the issue of a no-fly zone.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon last week warned that the ongoing Syrian conflict between pro- and anti-government forces is in danger of escalating into a long-term civil war. He criticised all parties involved in the violence of failing to engage in diplomatic efforts “in the belief that they will win through violence”.

“But there will be no winner in Syria,” he said.

- Additional reporting by the AFP

Syria’s rep to UN human rights council joins opposition >

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