Islamic State uses fighter jets in Syria for the first time

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A militant fighter of IS waving the group's flag at the top of a Syrian fighter jet in Raqqa. File photo

ARA News

Istanbul, Turkey – After imposing control over the military airport of Tabqa in eastern Syria, as well as Neirab airport in Aleppo province, an airplane seized by militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) made its first appearance above the southern countryside of Aleppo on Friday, activists reported.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, IS militants made a first take off with a warplane (seized from the Syrian air force) over Neirab district on Friday.

The same source reported that Iraqi military pilots (who had served under the regime of Saddam Hussein) are currently training IS militants on launching air raids with the Mig-23 –of which IS group owns several after capturing military airports in east and northwest Syria.

“Radicals of IS have been in possession of those fighter jets for months, but the lack of expert military pilots prevented the group from using them,” a Syrian opposition activist, who preferred anonymity, told ARA News. “However, some Iraqi pilots who served during the rule of Saddam Hussein have joined the group and are currently training the extremists on these jets.”

Local sources in the city of Tabqa told ARA News that the IS used three Mig-23’s in Tabqa airport earlier this week, and on Friday another fighter jet took off from the same airport –in Raqqa province.

“A state of panic overshadowed the area amid this unprecedented development,” locals said.

According to observers, the capability of the IS militants to launch raids is deemed a turning point in history of Syrian war, and may have some disastrous consequences if the international community remains reluctant of imposing a no-fly zone over conflict areas.

 

Reporting by: Mohammed al-Shami

Source: ARA News

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