SYRIAN FIGHTER PLANE PILOT DEFECTS TO JORDAN
- A Syrian fighter plane has landed at a military air base in the north of Jordan and the pilot has asked for asylum, Jordanian officials say, according to BBC News.
Jordan's Minister of Information, Samih al-Maaytah, said the pilot of the Mig 21 jet was being debriefed.
Syrian state TV said a fighter plane, flown by an air force colonel, had gone missing during a training mission.
The incident comes amid shelling in the city of Homs where Red Cross teams are poised to evacuate civilians.
The Russian-made Mig 21 landed at the King Hussein Air Base in Mafraq, close to the Syrian border, officials said.
It is believed to be the first such defection by a Syrian pilot with his plane.
A spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army, Ahmad Kassem, said the group had encouraged the pilot to defect, the Associated Press news agency reported.
The Syrian state news agency Sana named the pilot as Col Hassan Mirei al-Hamadeh, and said his plane was near the southern border when contact was lost at around 10:34 (07:34 GMT).
- 1925 Inauguration of the Shirak irrigation canal.
- 1952 Death of Garegin the First Hovsepiants, Catholicos of the Cilician See.