CIA triples estimate of ′IS′ militants in Syria, Iraq | News | DW | 12.09.2014
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CIA triples estimate of 'IS' militants in Syria, Iraq

The "Islamic State" has about 20,000 to 31,500 fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria, according to US intelligence agency, the CIA. The previous estimate was 10,000.

The "Islamic State" now have about 20,000 to 31,500 fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated late Thursday. The previous estimate was 10,000.

CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said in a statement, "CIA assesses the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS) can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria, based on a new review of all-source intelligence reports from May to August."

"This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence," he added.

The announcement came a day after President Barack Obama vowed to expand an offensive against IS extremists, a plan which foresaw new air strikes against IS in Syria, expanded attacks in Iraq and new support for Iraqi government forces.

bk/jm (AFP, AP)

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