Captured Syrian Pilot: I Just Followed Orders
Video: He says pilots were unaware they were hitting civilians
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2012 4:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Syrian fighter pilot shot down by rebels has a simple explanation for why he and other pilots have had no qualms about bombing civilian targets: He swears they didn't know civilians were present. The imprisoned Roni Ibrahim, who got shot down outside al-Bab, tells Al Jazeera that the government of Bashar al-Assad has kept the pilots in the dark.

“They told us there were armed terrorists there, and al-Bab was empty of civilians,” he says in the video. “Our commanders told us this, and we can’t see anything on the ground, and we don’t go outside the airbase.” A convenient lie to save his scalp? Impossible to say, but it might be part of the reason why the killing of civilians continues after more than a year, notes the Washington Post.