(CAIRO) — A Syrian fighter pilot has defected and requested political asylum in neighboring Jordan.
The colonel was flying a training mission in southern Syria in a MiG-21 Thursday morning when he went missing. Syria’s state news agency reported that it lost contact with the pilot before Jordanian officials confirmed the pilot landed at a military base in Mafraq, Jordan.
The Syrian opposition claimed to have encouraged him to defect. It’s the first defection of its kind in the country’s 16-month uprising that has already claimed between 12,000 and 14,000 lives.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ashley Fantz, AnneClaire Stapleton and Ed Payne, CNN Newswire
Holly Yan and Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN Newswire