The Islamic State is nothing if not ambitious.
Despite no record of current ‘airplane’ assets in their annual reports, ISIS has begun detaining and forcing Syrian pilots to train militant fighters to fly stolen aircraft. According to CNN Arabic, the pilots (and their planes and helicopters) were abducted when the terrorist group gained control of Tabqa military base. It appears that if beheadings, executions, and whippings are not enough to strike fear into the hearts of the locals, then (just as America is trying to do), an air assault will greatly demoralize. We can only imagine how this changes Obama’s strategy (and just where are all the rest of Syria and Iraq’s airplanes stored?)
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria said in a recent tweet it is forcing detained Syrian pilots to train militant fighters to fly stolen aircraft, CNN Arabic reported on Saturday.
In an account reportedly associated with the militant group, ISIS said in a tweet the pilots were abducted when the group gained control over the Tabqa military airbase in Raqqa Province.
ISIS seized the airbase earlier this month. The major airfield houses warplanes, helicopters, tanks and other artillery and ammunition, which were also confiscated by ISIS, according to several media reports.
ISIS did not provide any information about the nature of the training, according to CNN Arabic.
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The fall of the Tabqa air base followed the group’s seizing of two other Syrian military bases and gave it effective control of Raqqa Province, which abuts the Turkish border and whose capital city, Raqqa, has long served as the group’s de facto headquarters.
Photographs posted Sunday on Twitter accounts sympathetic to ISIS showed bearded fighters in the air base, standing next to a destroyed fighter jet and appearing to cut the head off a dead soldier.
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Some more of the ‘loot’