June 21 - A Syrian air force pilot lands his fighter jet in a military airbase in Jordan and asks for political asylum. Simon Hanna reports.
Syrian state TV announces that contact has been lost with a MIG 21 fighter jet. The presenter says the pilot was on a training mission and was forced to make an emergency landing in Jordan. In Amman, however, the Jordanian minister of state for information gave a different account. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) JORDANIAN MINISTER OF INFORMATION, SAMIH AL-MAAYTAH: "Today at 10.45 in the morning, Amman time, a jet fighter from the Syrian air force, type MIG 21, landed at an air force base and the pilot asked for political asylum in Jordan." Jordan has described the matter as a military issue and said that further details will be announced in due course. The defection is the first involving an aircraft since the uprising in Syria against President Bashar al Assad, although thousands of soldiers have deserted from the army. Simon Hanna, Reuters.