Honestly, why haven’t we droned these guys?
Could ISIS fighters be training as warplane pilots capable of turning their weapons on coalition aircraft?
That’s the worrying prospect suggested by an unverified report from the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that ISIS has three warplanes in its possession in northern Syria.
The Syrian opposition group also claims, citing reliable sources in Syria, that former Iraqi military officers are training members of the Sunni extremist militant group to fly them.
The planes are at the Al-Jarrah military airport east of the contested city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The former Iraqi military officers are among those who have joined ISIS, and people living near the airport have said that they recently saw an airplane flying at low altitude after it took off, according to the Observatory.
Information on how the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which calls itself the Islamic State and is also known as ISIL, obtained the planes, or the trainees’ previous level of familiarity with flight, wasn’t immediately available.
CNN has not independently verified the report.
However, the U.S. Central Command sought to pour cold water on the report.
“We’re not aware of ISIL conducting any flight operations in Syria or elsewhere,” said spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder.
“We continue to keep a close eye on ISIL activity in Syria and Iraq and will continue to conduct strikes against their equipment, facilities, fighters and centers of gravity, wherever they may be.”
ISIS has captured large swaths of northern and eastern Syria, as well as parts of western and northern Iraq, for what it says is its new Islamic caliphate.