Syrian MiG Pilot Defects to Jordan

A Syrian MiG-21 pilot, reportedly Col Hasan Mirei al-Hamadeh, defected today, landing in Jordan where he requested and was granted asylum.  BBC, among many others, has the story here.  The BBC also has a brief but smart analytical comment.  It notes the historical linkages of the Asad regime to the air force (Hafez al-Asad was an air force officer and pilot), and especially air force intelligence, however cautions against extrapolating this event to be a potential tipping point for the cohesiveness of the military.  Additionally, it avoids trotting out the sectarian simplifications that have become all too common in caricatures of the region (some sources cite that the air force is largely Sunni).  Nonetheless, it is a major event and cannot but heighten cross-border tensions and suspicions within Syria.

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Tags : civil war, Syria

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SyAAF MiG-21bis variant flown from Dmeyr AB.