Islamic State’s final fighters hold on in Baghouz as caliphate crumbles | ITV News
Pentagon: tens of thousands of fighters &# 171; Islamic State&# 187; are still valid
According to the US Department of Defense, the number of the terrorist group is close to that which it had in 2015.
WASHINGTON – The Islamic State terrorist group is arguably far more resilient, powerful and dangerous than American officials were willing to admit. The militants can boast that today their numbers in Iraq and Syria are close to those of the group at its peak..
After four years of bombing, the elimination of key leaders of the group, and other US and coalition efforts, there are still between 28,600 and 31,600 Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. This information was provided by the US Department of Defense to the lead inspector general of operations “Unwavering Determination” and “Pacific Eagle – Philippines”.
At its peak in 2015, the terrorist group numbered about 33,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to US intelligence estimates. Then she was fueled by thousands of foreign fighters every month.
However, new data suggests that despite spending $ 14.3 billion on 24,000 air strikes, the results of the US-led coalition are only mixed..
Although the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” caliphate, which covered parts of Iraq and Syria, no longer exists, the efforts of the United States and its allies to reduce the total size of the group have not been crowned with great success..
On the contrary, the quarterly report of the inspector general cites data from the Ministry of Defense, from which it follows that the Islamic State may well boast that it has 17,000 fighters in Iraq..
From 13,100 to 14,500 militants operate in Syria, the report says, of which only 4-6 thousand “remain in the areas of US military operations in northeastern Syria.” The rest are likely to operate in areas controlled by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies..
“If this information is correct, then the US government is, in fact, saying that today the Islamic State has as many fighters in Iraq and Syria as there were at the beginning of the bombing campaign,” said Thomas Jocelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy..
“They say that the Islamic State is capable of replacing the entire organizational structure of its forces, despite fighting several adversaries in both countries,” he added, pointing to the Pentagon’s statements in 2017 that the bombing campaign and other efforts resulted in killed 70 thousand militants of the terrorist group.
Voice of America has asked the Department of Defense to provide additional information on the estimates of the size of the group contained in the report of the inspector general.
Ministry spokesman said the military department will study this request.