(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.
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KJ Kwon and Ben Westcott, CNN
Arthur Brice, CNN
Evan McKirdy, Tim Hume and James Masters, CNN