A Jordanian Air Force pilot was reported captured by militants from the Islamic State in northern Syria after his F-16 fighter jet went down in the area. Supporters of the Islamic State reported the capture on social media. The Jordanian government stated that they are holding the Islamic State and its supporters responsible for the pilot’s safety while in custody.
In a statement, the Jordanian military reported that First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh had been taken hostage. The pilot was in the area on a military mission against the group. The captive pilot’s father, Safi al-Kasasbeh, said officials had informed his family of his son’s capture. The pilot is in his mid-20s and recently married.
A coalition of countries, led by the United States, started dropping bombs on the Islamic State in areas of Syria and Iraq this year. That coalition includes Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Most of the strikes have been carried out by the United States, with the participating countries playing a supporting role. The Arab allies in the coalition have avoided expanding their role to avoid domestic opposition from citizens who sympathize with the extremists.
This would be the first time since the beginning of the campaign that anyone from the military of a participating country has been captured by the jihadists. The militants shot down the jet with an antiaircraft missile, according to the group’s social media post. The Islamic State posted an image that reportedly showed the captured Jordanian pilot in Raqqa, Syria. They also posted photos of debris from the destroyed jet and a picture of the pilot’s military identification card.