HUFFINGTON POST

Syria Claims It Destroyed Jets Seized By ISIS

FILE - This undated file image posted on Aug. 27, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, which has been
FILE - This undated file image posted on Aug. 27, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a fighter of the Islamic State group waving their flag from inside a captured government fighter jet following the battle for the Tabqa air base, in Raqqa. Secretary of State John Kerry is to travel to the Middle East this week, with stops in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, to try to line up support for a coalition to take on the extremist Islamic State group. His trip follows Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit on Monday to Turkey to make the same case to Ankara, a regional heavyweight. Kerry will hold talks with officials from Jordan, Turkey and Egypt, as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf nations. (AP Photo/Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, File)

(Reuters) - Syria's air force has destroyed two fighter jets operated by Islamic State militants in the north of the country, Information Minister Omran Zoabi said in remarks published on Syria's state news agency SANA late on Tuesday.

A Syrian monitoring group said on Friday that Iraqi pilots trained under former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had joined Islamic State and were conducting training flights in three captured fighter jets at a air base in Aleppo province.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Islamic State, which has seized swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, had been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo.

Zoabi said the Syrian air force was searching for the third jet but had destroyed two of them, the first time Damascus has acknowledged that Islamic State are flying the aircraft.

"Regarding ... that terrorists control three jets in al-Jarrah military air base in Aleppo, there are three old aircraft that the terrorists were testing so the Syrian Arab Army immediately destroyed two of them on the runway as they were landing."

"It does not worry us and (the planes) cannot be used," he said, referring to their military capability.

Reuters was not able to verify the report of Islamic State flying jets in Syria or their destruction. U.S. Central Command said on Friday it was not aware of Islamic State flying jets in Syria.

U.S-led forces are bombing Islamic State bases in Syria and Iraq. The group has regularly used weaponry captured from the Syrian and Iraqi armies and has overrun several military bases.

Islamic State supporters circulated a video on Saturday showed a jet flying at low altitude which they said was one of the jets flown by Islamic State.

(Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Alison Williams)

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Syria War In October