Syrian jet makes emergency landing in Jordan: official

AFP , Thursday 21 Jun 2012

A Syrian Russian-made MiG lands in Jordan after disappearing during a training mission, says official

A Syrian fighter jet made an emergency landing at a military air base in neighbouring Jordan on Thursday, a government official said.

"The Syrian air force Russian-made MiG made an emergency landing at the King Hussein air base in Mafraq," in northern Jordan near the border with Syria, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity, without elaborating.

There was no official confirmation of reports that the pilot had defected.

According to Syrian state television, authorities had "lost contact with a MiG-21 while it was on a training mission."

"The plane, flown by Colonel Hassan Merhi al-Hamade, was near the southern border of Syria when contact was lost at around 10.34 am (0734 GMT)," the report said.

More than 120,000 Syrians fleeing the violence in their homeland have taken refuge in Jordan, according to the Amman government. The United Nations has registered 20,000 of them.

The uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's iron-fisted rule has killed more than 15,000 people since March 2011, according to human rights monitors.

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