People gather around a helicopter reportedly belonging to Syrian regime forces that crashed in Jabal al-Zawiya yesterday
One of at least four airmen captured by Al Qaeda militants after their Syrian Air Force helicopter crash-landed has appeared in a new propaganda video that calls for the release of a radical cleric.
The pilot, who was captured near Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib province, is seen looking dazed with bandages wrapped around his head as notorious jihadi Abdullah al-Muhaysini rants alongside him while wielding a massive knife and an assault rifle.
Al-Muhaysini, who has long been affiliated with Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, suggests the life of the airman will only be spared if the Syrian regime releases notorious jihadi Abu Mus’ab as-Suri, who is wanted in Spain for suspected links to the 1985 El Descanso and 2004 Madrid bombings.
The video shows the airman looking dazed as he sits on the floor of a darkened room with the notorious black and white banner of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra behind him.
Clearly suffering injuries as a result of the helicopter crash, the pilot still has bloodied bandages wrapped around his head.
The footage is decidedly amateur, is clearly filmed on either a mobile phone or a cheap recording device – making it look nothing like the slick, professionally edited videos put out by Nusra’s rival jihadi group Islamic State.
Nevertheless, the sight of Al-Muhaysini standing over the pilot and ranting about his possible murder while wielding a large knife has the same chilling impact as any ISIS release…