Islamic State training pilots to fly fighter jets

 Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State (IS) are training its members in Syria to fly three captured fighter jets, media reported Friday.

London: Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State (IS) are training its members in Syria to fly three captured fighter jets, media reported Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that witnesses have seen the planes being flown around a military airport in Aleppo, BBC reported.

Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the SOHR, said IS was using Iraqi officers who were pilots under ex-Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to train fighters in Syria.

"People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport and they are flying in the skies outside the airport and coming back," he said.

It is not known how many Iraqi pilots have defected.

Witnesses told the SOHR the planes appeared to be MiG-21 or MiG-23 models.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government said that its troops had gained ground to the north and west of Tikrit and cut an important IS supply route.

Kurdish forces, backed by US-led air strikes, are continuing to fight militants in the northern Syrian town of Kobane.

US-led warplanes struck IS positions Friday, taking advantage of new coordination with the town`s Kurdish defenders, the SOHR said.

Capturing the town would give the group unbroken control of a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

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