Reporter Jenan Moussa works for Dubai’s Al Aan TV. She is currently reporting from Syria, near Kobane, where Kurdish fighters continue to battle ISIS.
Today she filed a report about the three working aircraft that ISIS stole when it took control of a Syrian air base.
Big question remains: do they have pilots to fly them?
The answer is Yes. They indeed do. According to my sources IS has at least one pilot. He is a colonel who earlier served in the Syrian army inside Tabaqa airport. He defected, joined Free Syrian Army first and later switched to ISIS. He has more than 20 years of experience as a pilot. My sources know his name and that he lives in Tabaka. Recently the ISIS-pilot flew the L39 plane for a test flight. Sources tell me how they saw the jet landing at Al Jarrah airport. Inside the airport, there is also an ISIS military camp headed by 2 Emirs, a Syrian and a Saudi.
Other sources also say the fear is that the ISIS planes will not be used for normal bombing operations, but for a huge, one time suicide operation which will shock the region.
The Albatross is normally equipped with guns, bombs, rockets and air-to-air missiles. It is suspected that the three Albatrosses now in control of ISIS are equipped with all these lethal weapons.
Thus far, ISIS only has three of these aircraft, and one pilot to fly them. But that one pilot is probably training others, and ISIS may well be planning to use them in one or more spectacular terror attacks. The jets are likely to have a short shelf life unless ISIS also has qualified maintenance crews to keep them flyable. So, if ISIS is to use them in an attack, that’s likely to happen sooner rather than later.