By Max Bartels
Impunity Watch Reporter, The Middle East
The first coalition aircraft to be shot down by ISIS since the start of the U.S lead airstrikes on ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria occurred last week. A Jordanian military jet went down over Raqqa Province in Syria. There is some dispute over the circumstances of the Jet’s crash. ISIS claims that they are responsible for shooting the plane down. The U.S military, claims simply that the plane crashed and it was not due to ISIS anti-aircraft fire.
ISIS took the Jordanian pilot, Moath al-Kassassbeh hostage after his plane went down. Both Jordan and the U.S have made statements that they are committed to getting the pilot back safely. Since the capture ISIS has published a purported interview of Kassassbeh where he made statements about the circumstances of his crash. He stated that a heat-seeking missile hit his F-16 jet and caused him to go down. Since the interview ISIS has established a hash tag on twitter asking for suggestions on how to execute Kassassbeh, the hash tag has been re-tweeted over 1,00 times. During the interview Kassassbeh was asked what he thought ISIS would do with him and he responded, “they will kill me”.
ISIS is known for coercing captives into participating in their propaganda, so far is unclear whether Kassassbeh made the statements at all and if so whether he was forced to. Kassassbeh comes from a very prominent Jordanian family and his uncle is a former Major General in the Jordanian Army. Kassassbeh’s father has been pleading with ISIS publicly to hand his son back over to coalition authorities. The family has been appealing to ISIS by talking about Kassassbeh’s religious zeal, that he is a good Muslim and that he always flew with a copy of the Quran.
The shock of Kassassbeh’s capture has caused many in Jordan to call for an immediate withdrawal from the coalition against ISIS. Lawmakers and some in parliament are calling for the withdrawal. Jordanian authorities, on the other hand have issued statements that the incident has given nothing but resolve for the cause of fighting ISIS and Islamist extremism. Jordan is a key Arab ally in the U.S coalition, other members include Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE. Jordan has a high security risk, with the ISIS threat present in neighboring Syria.
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