By Walid Shoebat (Shoebat Exclusive)
The US Central Command has said in a statement that it is not “aware” of any flight operations by the Islamic militants neither in Syria, nor elsewhere, Reuters reported.
“We’re not aware of ISIS conducting any flight operations in Syria or elsewhere,” said Central Command spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder.
Now Middle East sources shows ISIS on video with 22 jet fighters between Meg and Aero L-39 Albatros high-performance jet fighters from the vast Tabqa complex, close to their headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa which is home to several warplane squadrons, helicopters, tanks, artillery, and ammunition bunkers. And they are making flight training as well. The factual footage Shoebat.com obtained can be viewed here (start at 00:53) to see the jets:
Tabaqa is the third military base in the area to fall to ISIS since last month. Those victories are part of the Islamic State group’s aggressive push to consolidate its hold on northern and eastern provinces, while also expanding the boundaries of its self-styled caliphate straddling the Syria-Iraq border.
The Middle Eastern sources showed actual footage of the jets and confirmed that Syrian dissident jet fighter pilots who have left to fight with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) whom the United States consider “moderates” have joined ISIS and are carrying out actual flights including training.
ISIS in Syria are training Iraqi pilots who joined the group to fly captured fighter jets, Reuters reported citing witnesses.
“They have trainers, Iraqi officers who were pilots before for [former Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein,” said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). “People saw the flights. They went up many times from the airport.”
The “same resources” said that the Islamist fighters seized additional three jet fighters after taking control over the military airports in Aleppo and al Raqqa provinces.
The group has reportedly been flying the planes over a captured Syrian al-Jarrah military airbase in the northern Aleppo province, which was among the areas in Syria seized by islamists this year.
The training courses are given in the airbase of al-Jarrah known by Kshish airbase too. This airbase located in the eastern countryside of Aleppo and considered the most important camp for ISIS in Syria.
The jets “flying at a low altitude over the area”, which witnesses said defined as MiG 21 or MiG 23 models, were captured from the Syrian military. It was not clear whether or not they were equipped with weaponry.
It is worth mentioning that it is not the first time that the people witness an aircraft flying at a low altitude after taking off from al-Jarrah airbase.
It is not unusual for Syrian dissidents who have left the ranks of Syrian air force to fight with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) whom the United States consider “moderates” and now they are joining ISIS. The Free Syrian Army, for lack of a better term, was recently equipped with BGM-79 TOW missiles for use against Bashar al Assad’s Armor, and they’re getting creative with their new stand-off precision weaponry. In addition to taking out armored vehicles, they’ve used the missiles against sniper hides, communications towers, and now, even aircraft:
Syrian Air Force L-39 Albatross jet trainers, of which there are many in Assad’s inventory, have been put into service as light attack aircraft over the last few years of the Syrian Civil War. Now ISIS proves to have commandeered some of these aircraft for pilot training and attack duties. So the L-39 force, in whoever’s hands, represents a clear and present danger.
As we stated in the past, the FSA is no different than ISIS. The only difference is that one (FSA) says to kill Bashar Al-Assad first and create the Caliphate later while ISIS says to create Caliphate now while they kill Bashar Al-Assad now.
Whats next. Eventually all these weapons will fall into the hands of ISIS, especially the TOW which is becoming the FIM-92 Stinger missile of the Syrian conflict. The Stinger, which were supplied to Mujaheddin in Afghanistan to stop the onslaught of Russian attack helicopters in the 1980s, was known to change the tide of that war, and was a symbol of US involvement in the conflict, for better or for worse. Well they ended up in the hands of the Taliban.
But ISIS is no longer a terrorist group, its an entire military state.
The TOW appears to be the Free Syrian Army’s symbolic weapon system of choice, and they have been incredibly active in employing it. One cannot tell the difference when ISIS uses such weapons or the FSA. They all yell the same “Allahu Akbar”: