Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday there is no evidence the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has acquired warplanes or pilots capable of flying them.
A report late last week from the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) alleged that ISIS had captured three fighter jets, including MiG-21 and MiG-23 models, and that former Iraqi military pilots were training militants at the al-Jarrah airbase east of Aleppo, Syria.
The report cited sources who said ISIS captured the planes from military airports in the ISIS stronghold provinces of Aleppo and Raqqa. A jet was reportedly seen taking off from al-Jarrah and flying at a low altitude.
U.S. Central Command chief Army Gen. Lloyd Austin could not confirm the report at a Pentagon press briefing Friday.
"We’re watching it very, very closely," Kirby said Monday.