Ban Ki-moon condemns Daesh capture of Jordanian pilot

Published December 25th, 2014 - 12:28 GMT
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Daesh militants to release the captured pilot. (AFP/File)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Daesh militants to release the captured pilot. (AFP/File)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned ISIL militants’ abduction of the pilot of a Jordanian aircraft downed in Syria.

On Wednesday, the UN chief called on the militants to release the pilot, who was captured after his plane was reportedly shot down in Syria’s Raqqa province earlier in the day.

“The secretary noted with concern the news of the downing of a Jordanian plane and of its pilot being taken prisoner,” a statement from the UN said. “He calls on his captors to treat the pilot in accordance with international humanitarian laws.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed earlier ISIL militants had shot down the Jordanian F-16 flying with the US-led coalition in Raqqa province.

But later in the day the US Central Command issued a statement, saying, “Evidence clearly indicates that ISIL did not down the aircraft as the terrorist organization is claiming." 

ISIL released photographs showing the captured pilot and a military card identifying him as First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh.

The 26-year-old’s father also confirmed his abduction.

The incident took place as several Jordanian Air Force planes with the US-led coalition were carrying out a mission against militant hideouts in Syria.

Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are among a number of countries that have joined the US-led alliance carrying out airstrikes against what is said to be ISIL positions in Syria and Iraq.

The Wednesday downing of the plane was the first time a coalition fighter jet has been targeted since the airstrikes in Syria started in September.

The ISIL militants, who have seized large swathes of land in Iraq and neighboring Syria, have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations and crucifixions, against all communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians, in both Arab states.

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