The Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, scored a victory today when it shot down a US-led coalition F-16 fighter jet over Syria, taking the pilot hostage.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement, “We have confirmed reports that IS members took a (non-Syrian) Arab pilot prisoner after shooting his plane down with an anti-aircraft missile near Raqa city.”
Islamic State was quick to publicize its victory and published photographs on jihadist websites purporting to show its fighters holding the captured pilot, with a caption identifying him as a Jordanian national.
Other photos were also published, showing the pilot wearing only a white shirt, being carried from a body of water by four men, and also on land, surrounded by a group of armed men.
Another photo showed the pilot’s I.D. card, displaying his name as Maaz al-Kassasbeh, with his birth date as May 29, 1988, and his rank of first lieutenant clearly stated.
The Guardian reported today that according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory, ISIS had used a missile taken from Syrian rebels who have been battling President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the Observatory’s director told AFP that ISIS, “has a large number of anti-aircraft weapons taken from the rebels.”
Even though Jordan is an Arab state it joined the U.S.-led alliance which carried out numerous air strikes against ISIS positions in both Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are other Arab states also taking part in missions against ISIS.
On Tuesday, the Observatory said that coalition strikes had killed more than 1,000 jihadists in Syria since they started there on September 23.
For their part, the U.S. coalition carried out seven air strikes on ISIS positions in Syria on Tuesday, with another three in Iraq.
The Syrian strikes were aimed at Islamic State positions near the embattled town of Kobane near the Turkish border, where Kurdish militia are fighting the jihadists. One strike targeted an ISIS controlled oil facility near Barghooth.