HATAY, Turkey --- A Syrian air force pilot who bailed out as his warplane crashed in Turkish territory last month has been arrested for allegedly engaging in “border violation” and “spying activities,” following his treatment at a hospital in the border province of Hatay, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The 56-year-old pilot, Col. Mehmet Sufhan, bailed out of his Mig-23 warplane on March 4 as it crashed in a rural part the Yaylacık district of Hatay. After nine hours of work by a Turkish rescue team, he was found around 500 meters away where his parachute was spotted and some 40 kilometers away from the wreckage of his jet.
Sufhan was not in a critical condition but had suffered some spinal fractures and was taken for surgery in the Hatay State Hospital.
In his initial testimony, he said his aircraft was shot down on its way to strike rural areas near Idlib in northern Syria after taking off from the Latakia base.
After he was discharged from the hospital, Sufhan was arrested in the case filed by the Hatay Public Prosecutor’s Office on charges of “border violation” and “spying activities.”
He is being held in a prison in Hatay.