A Syrian air force colonel has become the country's first senior military officer to defect in his aircraft, seeking asylum in Jordan after making an emergency landing in his MiG-21 fighter jet.
The defection comes amid reports world leaders at the G20 summit have explored offering safe passage to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to help broker a resolution with Russia and China to stop the country descending into civil war. The actions of the pilot, named on Syrian state television as Colonel Hassan Merhi al-Hamade, were reminiscent of the two Libyan fighter pilots – both colonels – who in February last year flew their jets to Malta to defect rather than bomb protesters, as they said they had been ordered to by the Gaddafi regime.
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