Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat—Jordan’s efforts are ongoing, on all levels, to secure the release of captured pilot Muadh Al-Kasasbeh from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in cooperation with Arab brothers and international allies, Information Minister Mohammad Momani said.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Jordanian minister confirmed that “communication” is ongoing as part of efforts to secure Kasasbeh’s release, but refused to divulge the details of the communication, or which Arab or international parties are leading the mediation efforts.
“I call on the media to be careful in its reporting and take information from accurate sources and stay away from misguided analysis, particularly out of respect for the feelings of the Kasabeh’s family,” Momani said.
His comments come after a number of Arab and international media outlets have speculated over the fate of the captured pilot.
Momani also stressed that Kasasbeh was the only pilot in the F-16 that was downed near Raqqa earlier this week following media speculation that another Jordanian pilot had either been captured by ISIS or was on the run in ISIS-held territory. Although the F-16 is predominately a single-seat fighter jet, some models do boast double seats.
While ISIS has claimed it downed the aircraft, US military has subsequently rejected that claim. “Evidence clearly indicates” that ISIS “did not down the aircraft,” US Central Command said in a statement earlier this week.
US Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, who is overseeing coalition military operations in Iraq and Syria, issued a statement following Kasabeh’s capture praising Jordan’s role in the US-led anti-ISIS coalition and promising that Washington will do everything in its power to secure his release.
“The Jordanians are highly-respected and valued partners and their pilots and crews have performed exceptionally well over the course of this campaign. We strongly condemn the actions of ISIS which has taken captive the downed pilot,” he said.
“We will support efforts to ensure his safe recovery, and will not tolerate ISIS’s attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes,” the US general added.