BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries shot down a Syrian MIG-21 jet fighter that flew into Iraqi airspace today, but the pilot survived, a military spokesman said.
Syria, Iraq's western and hostile neighbor, confirmed that the plane had been shot down and said the pilot was a trainee who strayed into Iraq by mistake. Syria demanded an Iraqi explanation of the episode.
There was no word from either Iraq or Syria on whether the pilot was warned before his Soviet-made warplane was shot down.
The Iraqi spokesman, who was not identified, said the pilot of the downed plane was alive but gave no details of his condition, name or rank.
Baghdad radio said the Iraqi Foreign Ministry complained to the Arab League about the Syrian violation of Iraqi airspace.
Iraq and Syria have been feuding for years. Syria supports Iran in its nearly 7-year-old war with Iraq.