June 21 - Jordan's Information Minister says a Syrian air force pilot who flew his plane over the border to Jordan's King Hussein military air base was granted political asylum. Sarah Irwin reports.
Jordan's Information Minister says political asylum is granted to the Syrian pilot who flew his fighter jet just over the Syrian border and into Jordan. On Thursday, a Syrian Air Force pilot asked for sanctuary after landing his MiG-21 airplane at King Hussein air base - north of Amman. Syria's Defence Ministry says the pilot - identified as Colonel Hassan Hamada - is a "traitor" and Syria wants the plane returned. This is the first defection involving a military aircraft - although thousands of soldiers have defected since the 15-month uprising against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad began. Elsewhere - amateur video - that cannot be independently verified by Reuters - purportedly showed continued shelling by Syrian forces in the city of Homs. An aid group said that the violence had been forced aid workers to turn back - despite an agreement allowing them to evacuate the sick and wounded. Syria has said rebel forces blocked evacuation efforts from the ancient Syrian city. Sarah Irwin, Reuters.