Captain Akhmed Trad, above, who until a short while ago was a Mi-17 pilot in Syria’s air force.

Soon on the NYT: In a Syrian Helicopter Pilot’s Defection, Hints of Trouble for President Bashar al-Assad.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Top, Officer’s identification card of former Syrian Air Force Captain Akhmed Trad, who last month defected from his aviation squadron in Damascus, crossed lines and fled to Turkey with 14 family members, including one brother, Mohammad, who was an L-39 pilot instructor at the air force academy in Aleppo. By the author. Hatay Province, Turkey. Thursday. Bottom, a Mi-17, a Russian-made, general-purpose transport helicopter that can be used as a gunship, in this version configured with rocket pods.  From alsuffa.blogspot.com. (No, the gentleman leaping from the helicopter in the photograph is not Captain Trad. But, in a way, he might as well have been.)

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