On October 12, the court of Turkey’s Hatay province released Syrian Air Force pilot Muhammed Sufha who was captured on March 4 by the Turkish authorities after his warplane, a MIG-21, crashed in Hatay province. Back on March 4, Ahrar al-Sham Movement claimed that it shot down Sufan’s MIG-21 over Idlib.
According to Turkish sources, Sufan confessed to the Turkish authorities upon his arrest that he was bombing targets in Idlib governorate, that’s under the control of the Syrian opposition.
Sufha was accused of “border violation” and “spying activities” by the Turkish authorities back than, according to the sources.
Syrian pro-government sources claimed that Sufan entered Syria from the Kessab border crossing in the northern Lattakia countryside on October 13.
Meanwhile, Turkish and Syrian opposition sources said that Sufan is still not allowed to leave Turkey, and that his trail will continue. However, the Turkish authorities will likely allow Sufan to go back to Syria in the end, according to the sources.
Back on August 31, the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups of Jaysh Ahrar al-Ashayer and Jaysh Usud al-Sharqiya and the Jordanian authorities released Syrian Air Force pilot Ali al-Helw. Al-Helw’s warplane, a Mig-23BN, crashed in the northern Suwayda countryside on August 15.
Both pilots were provided with medical care by the Turkish authorities and the FSA during their captivity, and were allowed to contact with their families. However, a third Syrian Air Force pilot, Ali Fahed, is still missing.
Ali Fahed’s Su-22 was shot down by the US Air Force over the US-backed Syrian Democratic Force (SDF)-held area in the southern Raqqa countryside while he was conducting airstrikes against ISIS positions on June 18. US Navy pilot Michael Tremel who shot down Fahed’s warplane, confirmed that Fahed’s ejected from the warplane after it was hit.
However, the SDF continues to deny that it captured Ali Fahed. The SDF even denied that it found the wreckage of Fahed’s warplane or his dead body. Fahed’s relatives and many pro-government activists believe that he is a victim of enforced disappearance by the SDF.