Jordanian Pilot's Family Pleads for His Return

Moaz al Kasasbeh's brother calls on ISIS to 'be merciful' and 'send him back' as he is 'a soldier following orders' with 'no authority.'

Cynthia Blank,

Islamic State terrorists parade through Raqqa
Islamic State terrorists parade through Raqqa

The family of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, captured by Islamic State terrorists in Syria on Wednesday, have called on the organization to release him. 

Al-Kasasbeh's plane crashed Wednesday morning over Raqqa province in eastern Syria. 

Although ISIS has suggested it downed the plane using an anti-aircraft missile, the United States military rejects their claim

"Evidence clearly indicates" that Islamic State "did not down the aircraft," US Central Command said in a statement.

Speaking in Arabic with CNN, the pilot's brother Jawad al-Kasasbeh asked that ISIS "be supportive of our brother Moaz and to be merciful on him, please send him back to us. He is just a soldier who is following orders and has no authority."

Jawad added that his brother Moaz is a "pious man who prays and fasts and he always flies with his Quran with him."

al-Kasasbeh's uncle is a well-respected retired Jordanian Major General. Fahd al-Kasasbeh identified his nephew in photos of the pilot that appeared on the ISIS-affiliated Twitter account.

In one of these image, four men appear to be pushing a dazed and bloody man through a pool of shallow water, perhaps to shore. 

The retired general said that he'd asked Maj. Gen. Mansour S. Al Jabour, the head of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, to investigate the circumstances of the crash and to take all possible action to secure Moaz's release.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani also addressed Wednesday's incident, stating that his country "initially thought the plane might have been shot at." State news reported later that the plane had crashed. 

"The Jordanian pilot Kasasbeh is a model of heroism and all of us stand with his family and his colleagues in-arms," al-Momani went on to say.

When asked whether the incident would affect Jordanian participation in the US-led coalition against Islamic State, the spokesman replied: "Our war on terror will continue to protect Jordan and our land." 

While al-Momani acknowledged the "enormity of this incident," he added that "Jordan participated in this war knowing that there will be casualties."

Despite the family pleas, ISIS' track records suggests an unhappy fate for the captured F-16 pilot. 

"It is well-known that this organization does not hide their terrorist schemes," a Jordanian military source quoted in the Petra news agency said. "And they have carried out many criminal acts of destruction and killing of innocent Muslims and non-Muslims in Syria and Iraq."