Defected Syrian pilot launches air strikes on regime army positions

A Syrian air force Russian-made MiG-21 plane that a pilot landed with in the King Hussein military base in Mafraq in northern Jordan on June 21, 2012. (AFP)

A defected Syrian pilot has carried out airstrikes on positions of the Syrian regime forces in an area outside Damascus, the opposition military command in the capital announced Saturday, according to Al Arabiya TV.

Amr Hamza, of the revolution command council in Damascus suburb, told Al Arabiya eyewitnesses initially thought the plane was bombing regime army positions by mistake, but after several air raids followed by Syrian regime air defense fires, “the hypothesis of mistake was dismissed.”

The Assad’s regime has regularly used the air power to target opposition fighters across the country and airstrikes often caused heavy civilian casualties.

It was the first time in the nearly two-year conflict that a regime pilot turned fire against the regime forces.

U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay on Friday renewed a demand that the divided Security Council order an International Criminal Court war crimes investigation in Syria.

Syria is not an ICC member, and the Security Council is the only body which can refer the conflict to the court.

Russia and China have already used their veto power as permanent members of the Security Council to block three resolutions which would have threatened sanctions against Assad.

Syria’s foreign ministry has decried a petition by 58 countries calling for a war crimes case against Damascus, in a letter to the president of the United Nations Security Council.

The Syrian government regrets the persistence of these countries in following the wrong approach and refusing to recognize the duty of the Syrian state to protect its people from terrorism imposed from abroad," it said.

The ministry accused some signatories to the petition of funding, training and harboring "terrorists," a blanket term used to describe opposition forces trying to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

It said the initiative was proof of the "deceit and double standards" of the signatories in dealing with the Syrian conflict, in which the United Nations says that more than 60,000 people have been killed since March 2011.

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Last Update: Thursday, 28 February 2013 KSA 17:01 - GMT 14:01
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