A big parade was held in Syria on Thursday (27 October) to mark the graduation of a group of air force pilots from military training college.
A big parade was held in Syria on Thursday (27 October) to mark the graduation of a group of air force pilots from military training college. The ceremony took place at the city of Aleppo, where the pilots had been trained.
SYNOPSIS: The Commander of Syria's Air forces and Air Defence, Brigadier Naji Jamil, at the centre of the official dais, reviewed the troops on parade.
Later, in an address at the ceremony, Brigadier Jamil focused on Middle East peace problems, He said Syria would continue its efforts for a lasting peace settlement in the region. But he said, if Israel continued to impede international efforts for peace, Syria would use force to liberate Israeli-occupied territories. His speech injected a note of gravity into what was otherwise a happy occasion.
Among official guests at the ceremony were the Commander of the Egyptian Air Force, Brigadier Shaker Mahmoud Moun'em, and military delegates from Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. It is estimated that Syria has more than 25,000 men in its air force and more than 200,000 men in its army and navy. National service of two and a half years is compulsory.
The newly-graduated pilots stood before the official dais to take an oath of allegiance.
Top graduates from the military air training college then received special honours from Brigadier Jamil.
A fly-past of military aircraft concluded the ceremony. Syria gets most of its military equipment from the Soviet union, and in a joint statement earlier this year, the two countries said that Syria must increase its defence capabilities. As a frontline Arab state in the Middle East conflict, Syria has had top-level talks with the Soviet Union to help co-ordinate the Arab attitude.