Islamic State And Its Pilot Training: Should We Be Worried?

Iraqi pilots who have joined the IS are training its members in Syria to fly three captured fighter jets.

The US airs-trike operation on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has till now been able to contain the fighters at some place.

But they are still marching and the ongoing fight at Turkish border-city of Kobane is an example of it.

Now Iraqi forces have launched an attack on IS militants near Tikrit.

The city was seized by IS earlier this year. But, it seems the IS will try all it could to fight these air-strikes. Reportedly, Iraqi pilots who have joined the IS are training its members in Syria to fly three captured fighter jets.

The report comes riding on information given by a UK-based activist group that monitors the conflict. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has said that witnesses had seen the planes being flown around a military airport in Aleppo. They have also told that the planes appeared to be MiG-21 or MiG-23 models.

BBC quoted Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the SOHR, saying that the IS was using Iraqi officers who were pilots under ex-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to train fighters in Syria.

“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,” he said.

However, it is not yet known how many Iraqi pilots have defected.

According to BBC, IS has three planes which it captured earlier from the Syrian military in Aleppo and Raqqa. The city of Aleppo became a key battleground in the fight between Syrian rebels, including IS, and government forces after the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi troops are reported to have gained ground to the north and west of Tikrit and cut an important IS supply route. The government is trying to do everything it could to regain territory which, till now, has ended in failure.

At the same time, Kurdish forces have continued to fight their battled in Kobane. It should be noted that the US-led warplanes had struck IS positions on Friday, taking advantage of new coordination with the town’s Kurdish defenders.

The battle for Kobane, which is also known as Ayn al-Arab, is regarded as a major test of whether the US-led coalition’s air campaign can push back IS.

It is estimated that more than 600 people have been killed since the jihadist group launched its assault on the mainly Kurdish town a month ago. According to another estimate, more than 160,000 people have fled in the face of the IS advance.

The IS wants to capture Kobane to gain an unbroken control over a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

If the reports are true, it raises concerns over the further well-being of people who have been abducted, targeted and brutally murdered by the IS. There are only three fighter jets, but there are a number of IS militants who are blinded by whatever they have come to believe.

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