LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Colonel Hassan Hamada, a Syria Air Force pilot, defected to Jordan in his MiG-21 fighter jet today. Colonel Hassan Hamada today June 21, 2012 became the first ever Syrian pilot to defect to Jordan. Hamada landed his MiG-21 fighter jet in Jordan shortly after 11 am local time, officials confirm to news.
In a news briefing moments ago, officials said that Colonel Hassan Hamada was on a training mission today. That mission took him near Jordan’s border. He had left earlier from al-Dumair military airport outside of Damascus. But at 11 am, Hamada landed at King Hussein Airbase is his fighter jet. Upon landing, Hamada immediately asked for political asylum.
Jordan officials tell news that the Hamada was very nervous. Hamada told officials that the defection was emotionally very “difficult” on him. In a subsequent news statement, Jordanian Minister of State for Information Samih al-Maaytah said that Hamada “requested political asylum in Jordan. He is being debriefed at the moment.” Hamada’s name was not identified by al-Maaytah but by local news thereafter. Samih al-Maaytah added “The jetfighter landed at 10:45am and the government is currently considering the pilot’s request.”
Hamada reportedly did not act along. Local news is claiming that Free Syrian Army encouraged Hamada to defect today.