Pilot of crashed Syrian jet found alive in southern Turkey

The pilot, a Syrian national who has not been named, was found exhausted and was immediately rushed to hospital, Turkish officials say. Elsewhere in Syria, UN says that about 66,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the north.

Photo by: Anadolu Agency
Photo by: Anadolu Agency

The Syrian opposition rebels on Saturday claimed to have shot down a regime fighter jet.

Updated Mar 6, 2017

The pilot of a Syrian jet that crashed in the southernmost Turkish province of Hatay was found alive early on Sunday, and authorities discovered the wreckage of the aircraft as well, reports said. 

The pilot, a Syrian national who has not been named, was found exhausted after a nine-hour search and quickly rushed to Hatay State Hospital, said security sources speaking anonymously.

The jet crashed on Saturday near the village of Yaylacik. 

"We think the plane belongs to Syria," Hatay Governor Erdal Ata said. 

A search and rescue team combing the area found the wreckage but the jet’s cockpit was empty, Ata said.

The governor noted that the situation was not a border violation, and that the jet had not been engaged on the Turkish side.

Eyewitness Suphan Polat said that he saw the jet "sink like an arrow into the ground."

"There were three fires. The trees had been razed. Ammunition from the jet was lying on the ground, while the cockpit was a little off to the side. We were looking for any injured people but were afraid to go near it in case it blew up," Polat said.

The Syrian opposition rebels on Saturday claimed to have shot down a regime fighter jet.

TRT World's Abubakr Al Shamahi has more details from Gaziantep. 

Mass displacements in Syria's north

Meanwhile a UN body on Sunday said that 66,000 people have been displaced by fighting along two fronts in Syria's fractured north.

"This includes nearly 40,000 people from al-Bab city and nearby Taduf town, as well as 26,000 people from communities to the east of al-Bab," said the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Turkey-backed opposition fighters seized al-Bab from Daesh on February 23 after several months of fighting.

OCHA said the 39,766 people displaced from the town fled north to areas controlled by other rebel forces, and that the "high contamination" of unexploded bombs and booby traps set by retreating Daesh was complicating efforts to return.

Since February 25, OCHA said, another 26,000 people fled violence east of al-Bab, where Syrian regime forces have also been waging a fierce offensive against Daesh.   

Many of those people sought refuge in areas around Manbij, a town controlled by the US-backed SDF.

Since war broke out in Syria in March 2011, more than half of its population has been forced to flee their homes.

Aleppo province hosts tens of thousands of displaced Syrians, many in camps near the Turkish border.

TRTWorld and agencies