Middle East

Father urges IS to show mercy for captured Jordan pilot

Media captionYoussef al-Kasasbeh: "He is a guest among brothers of ours"

The father of a Jordanian pilot seized by Islamic State militants in Syria has renewed a plea for his release.

Describing his son as "a guest among brothers of ours in Syria Islamic State", Youssef al-Kasasbeh urged his "hosts" to "treat him well".

Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured after his jet crashed in north-eastern Syria on Wednesday during a bombing mission.

Jordan is one of four Arab states in a US-led coalition that has launched air strikes on IS in Syria.

So far, the militants have not commented on the fate of the 26-year-old pilot.

'Hospitality'

It is still unclear what caused his plane to crash near the IS stronghold of Raqqa.

IS said it shot it down with a heat-seeking missile. However, the US says "evidence clearly indicates" that this is not true.

On Thursday Moaz al-Kasasbeh's father said: "I direct a message to our generous brothers of the Islamic State in Syria to host my son... with generous hospitality."

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Jordanian military said it held IS and its supporters "responsible for the safety of the pilot and his life".

The air forces of Jordan, the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have carried out hundreds of air strikes on IS in Syria in the past three months.

Many of the targets have been in and around Raqqa, which is the de facto capital of the "caliphate" whose creation IS proclaimed in June.

Correspondents say that IS is assumed to have a limited air defence capability.

However, IS fighters have downed Iraqi and Syrian government planes in the past, and the group's full capabilities are not known.


Moaz al-Kasasbeh

Image copyright EPA
  • Born in the city of Karak in Jordan in 1988, he is 26 years old
  • Has been a Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot for six years
  • Currently holds the rank of flight lieutenant
  • One of eight children, he got married in July