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Jordan Vows To Make 'Every Effort' To Free Pilot

  • RFE/RL

A video grab purportedly showing an Islamic State fighter displaying pieces of a warplane from the US-led coalition that crashed near Raqqa city in Syria.

A video grab purportedly showing an Islamic State fighter displaying pieces of a warplane from the US-led coalition that crashed near Raqqa city in Syria.

Jordan has vowed to make every effort to secure the release of a pilot captured by Islamic State (IS) militants after his fighter jet crashed in Syria.

"Al-Rai," a government daily wrote on December 25 that "the Jordanian government is doing its utmost with several crisis cells to free" Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh.

Kaseasbeh, 26, was carrying out air strikes against the militants when his F-16 jet crashed near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital, on December 24.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

The U.S. military, which led the operation, denied claims that the jihadists had shot down the warplane.

"Evidence clearly suggests that ISIL did not down the aircraft", it said using another name for the IS group.

"We will support efforts to ensure his safe recovery, and will not tolerate ISIL's attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes," U.S. Central Command chief General Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

Kaseasbeh, who comes from a prominent Jordanian Sunni Muslim family, is the first pilot from the international coalition known to have been captured by the IS group.

The pilot's father, Safi Yousef al-Kaseasbeh, pleaded for his son's release, reminding the IS militants that his son shared the same faith as the ultraconservative group.

"I direct a message to our generous brothers of the Islamic State in Syria: to host my son, the pilot Mu'ath, with generous hospitality," he said.

The father made his plea while speaking to journalists in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on December 25.

So far, there has been silence from the extremists about the fate of their captive since gunmen from the group dragged him away following the crash.

The United States and several Arab allies have been striking the IS group in Syria since September 23, and U.S. and other international warplanes have been waging an air campaign against the extremists in Iraq for even longer.

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are participating in the Syria air strikes, with logistical support from Qatar.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
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