ISIS Fighters May Be Learning How to Fly

Syrian group says Iraqi pilots are teaching them
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2014 12:02 PM CDT
ISIS Fighters Learning How to Fly: Report
File photo of a MiG-21 Lancer.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A group that monitors the Syrian war has some seriously unwelcome news in the fight against ISIS: The militants are learning how to fly fighter jets, reports Reuters. According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, former Iraqi officers who served under Saddam Hussein have been training ISIS pilots. Witnesses have spotted short, low flights out of a militant-controlled airport near Aleppo, with the planes believed to be MiG-21 or MiG-23 models captured from the Syrian military. The Islamic State has three such planes, reports the BBC.

"People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport and they are flying in the skies outside the airport and coming back," says the head of the Syrian activist group. The report has not been confirmed, and a spokesman for the US Central Command says he's not aware of the militant group conducting flights anywhere. Meanwhile, fighting continued between ISIS and Syrian Kurdish fighters in the Turkish border town of Kobani. With the US-led coalition focusing its airstrikes on militants in that area, the AP reports that ISIS appears to be taking advantage by pressing its attack on a second front in Iraq. (More ISIS stories.)

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