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22 Jun, 2017 14:11

‘US-led coalition protects ISIS by targeting Syrian forces’ – family of downed plane pilot

‘US-led coalition protects ISIS by targeting Syrian forces’ – family of downed plane pilot

The US-led coalition’s downing of a Syrian Army plane near Raqqa province shows that the group is not fighting Islamic State terrorists but is instead protecting them, the family of the pilot told Ruptly.

A Syrian Su-22 jet was shot down by a US aircraft in the vicinity of Raqqa, northern Syria, on June 18. Damascus said that at the time of the attack that the pilot, later identified as Ali Fahd, was carrying out a mission “to destroy IS [Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL] terrorists.” The pilot reportedly ejected from the plane above IS-controlled territory and is still missing. 

READ MORE: US-led coalition downs Syrian army plane in southern Raqqa

“Before he was targeted by the coalition, he was executing a mission of destroying operations headquarters of the IS terrorist organization in Raqqa,” Mohyyddin Fahd, the pilot’s cousin, told Ruptly in the city of Salamiyah, Hama province, on Wednesday.

“The coalition targeting of the pilot proves that the [coalition] and IS are the same. We thought otherwise about the coalition, that it aimed to liberate the land and purify it from the dirt of terrorism altogether, but it turned out the opposite,” Mohyyddin concluded bitterly.

The US-led Operation Inherent Resolve, however, claims that the Syrian plane “dropped bombs near SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] fighters” and thus “was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet.” 

The pilot’s uncle, also named Ali Fahd, told Ruptly that he is not sure if the US-led coalition is protecting civilians from IS or is just shielding the terrorists.

“We see that [the coalition] is protecting IS by all the behaviors it shows… He who wants to target IS would not target a Syrian plane, but he must cooperate with Syria.”

According to the pilot’s uncle, targeting the Syrian plane shows that the coalition “is defending IS, because it is the US and the coalition forces [that] created IS.”

The downed pilot has always hated Islamic State terrorists and wanted to kill them and protect people from them, his aunt Hala said.

The pilot’s fate is yet unknown. His relatives said that they heard news that he is in hospital, probably a Kurdish facility, but this has not been verified.

“We, the family of Fahd, want to know the fate of this pilot and where is he now, because his kids, his wife, and his brothers are worried. Where is he now? No one knows the fate of this pilot,” another of the pilot’s uncles, Fayez, said.

‘Who is [the coalition] protecting by shooting [the plane] down? Was [the pilot] fighting the US or was he fighting ISIS in Syria? [The aircraft] was shot down in a Syrian land, not an American land,’ he added.

Russia condemned the downing of the plane and announced halting cooperation with the US within the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria following the incident.