IS claims capture of Syrian pilot after shooting down plane
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IS claims capture of Syrian pilot after shooting down plane

News agency linked to Islamic State gives name of airman, posts video of charred remains of jet in the desert

Illustrative photo of a Syrian army jet guided out of the hangar at Dmeir military airport, 50 km north-east of Damascus, on April 8, 2016. (AFP/Stringer)
Illustrative photo of a Syrian army jet guided out of the hangar at Dmeir military airport, 50 km north-east of Damascus, on April 8, 2016. (AFP/Stringer)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Islamic State jihadist group on Friday captured a Syrian pilot alive after shooting down his plane east of Damascus, the IS-affiliated Amaq news agency said.

Amaq gave the pilot’s name as Azzam Eid, from Hama. It said IS fighters had shot down his plane and found him alive after he parachuted down to the crash site.

A video posted by Amaq showed the charred remains of a plane, some parts still on fire, lying on a vast desert plain.

Several apparent IS fighters in military-style fatigues circle around the wreckage, pointing to the two-starred Syrian government flag clearly visible on one of the wings.

Undated file image posted on a militant website on January 14, 2014, shows Islamic State fighters marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP/Militant Website)
Undated file image posted on a militant website on January 14, 2014, shows Islamic State fighters marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP/Militant Website)

Syrian state news agency SANA had no immediate news on the incident.

IS fighters have shot down several Syrian government warplanes in recent weeks, including over the Dmeir military airport near Damascus and in the southern province of Sweida.

But the pilots were able to land in regime-held zones on both occasions.

In December 2014, IS shot down a warplane from the US-led coalition striking the group in Syria and captured the Jordanian pilot alive.

This still image made from a video released by Islamic State group militants and posted on the website of the SITE Intelligence Group on February 3, 2015, purportedly shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh standing in a cage just before being burned to death by his captors. (photo credit: AP/SITE Intelligence Group)
This still image made from a video released by Islamic State group militants and posted on the website of the SITE Intelligence Group on February 3, 2015, purportedly shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh standing in a cage just before being burned to death by his captors. (photo credit: AP/SITE Intelligence Group)

The ultra-conservative group later burned pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh alive and posted video footage of his death online.

Syria’s conflict first began in March 2011 with widespread anti-government protests that have since spiraled into a multi-front, complicated civil war.

Across the country, IS is fighting the Syrian government, non-jihadist rebels, and Kurdish groups.

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