2871
Will IS Soon Fly Fighter Jets?
International

Will IS Soon Fly Fighter Jets?

Syrian activists have warned that the IS militant group is test-flying captured fighter jets with the help of former Iraqi air force pilots.
The group has been flying the planes over a captured Syrian military airport in the northern Aleppo province, Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told reporters on Friday.
“They have trainers, Iraqi officers who were pilots before for [former Iraqi president] Saddam Hussein,” he said. “People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport.”
The IS group, which is bent on carving out a “caliphate” across Iraq and Syria, is known to have seized fighter jets from at least one air base it captured from the Syrian army in Raqqa province in January 2014.
Should it be able to operate the jets, experts say this would have only a minimal impact as both coalition forces and the Syrian regime could easily down them.
But according to Wassim Nasr, who has been monitoring the IS group advance for FRANCE 24, it is “highly unlikely” that the jets are operational, or indeed that the militants would know how to fly them.
“The Syrian army evacuated all operational aircraft from the Jarrah air base before its capture,” Nasr said.
“They may have left behind a couple of MiG-21 or MiG-23 jets, but these aircraft require constant maintenance,” he said, adding that the single-seat warplanes were “not suitable for training”.
Nasr also cautioned that reports of Iraqi fighter pilots defecting to the IS group were “still only rumors”.
“Besides, after more than a month of US and allied airstrikes targeting IS group pick-ups and motorbikes, I would be very surprised if they had left fighter jets untouched,” Nasr said.
US officials on Friday said they had no reports of the militants flying jets in support of their fighters in Iraq and Syria.
“We don’t have any operational reporting of ISIL flying jets in support of ISIL’s activity on the ground,” Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top US commander for the Middle East, told reporters at the Pentagon.
“And to the degree that pilots may have defected and joined the ranks of ISIL, I don’t have any information on that either,” Austin added.

 

Short URL : http://goo.gl/j3Ypjt

You can also read ...

Missiles are paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade
North Korea warned Sunday that the upcoming US-South Korea...
Mala Bakhtiar
Iraq’s Kurds may consider the possibility of postponing a...
Capturing Tal Afar would be an important milestone for Iraqi security forces.
Iraqi forces have launched a ground offensive to retake a key...
Mattis Says Trump Has Made Afghan Decision After ‘Rigorous’ Review
US President Donald Trump has made a decision on the United...
Demonstrators poured into the streets over the weekend to denounce white supremacy and Nazism, one week after clashes between far-right demonstrators and counterprotesters in Charlottesville.
Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans in a...
Assad Rejects Security Cooperation With West
Syrian President Bashar Assad has blasted the West, rejecting...
India Investigates After Fourth Big Train Accident Kills 23
India began investigating on Sunday a train crash in which 23...
Germany Welcomes Release of Writer Sought By Turkey
Germany’s foreign minister welcomed the release Sunday of a...

Trending

Googleplus