Fighters from Islamic State (ISIS) claim to have shot down a US-led coalition warplane in northern Syria and taken the Jordanian pilot captive, according to The Times. The Jordanian army confirmed that one of its planes had crashed and the pilot had been captured, and said: “Jordan holds the group and its supporters responsible for the safety of the pilot and his life”. As The NY Times reports, the strike and capture signals the harshest blow yet to the coalition and could affect the resolve of the Arab nations that have joined the United States in its air campaign.
Militants from the Islamic State extremist group have shot down a fighter jet over Syria deployed by the United States-led coalition that is battling the group and have captured a pilot from an Arab country, a Syrian monitoring organization said on Wednesday. The monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the militants had fired an antiaircraft missile to bring down the jet near Raqqa, in northern Syria.
... the strike and capture would signal the harshest blow yet to the coalition and could affect the resolve of the Arab nations that have joined the United States in its air campaign to weaken the Islamic State — also known as ISIS or ISIL — in Iraq and Syria. The coalition was formed this year and includes Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
While American officials have lauded the contributions of their Arab partners, they also acknowledge that the majority of the strikes have been carried out by the United States, with its partners often playing a supporting role. The United States’ Arab allies have avoided giving much detail about their role in the campaign, mostly over fears of retribution by the Islamic State or to avoid domestic blowback from citizens who support the extremists.
The capture would be the first of a coalition pilot, and the militants could seek to use the hostage to obtain ransom or concessions.
Supporters of the Islamic State on social media said the captured pilot was from Jordan and posted photographs of a man in a white T-shirt surrounded by gunmen.