A new estimate from the U.S. intelligence community puts the count of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria at between 20,000 and 25,000.
USA Today first reported the new estimate, relayed by a top government official, which compares to the estimated 19,000 to 31,000 fighters in the terrorist group’s army over a year ago before the U.S.-led air strike campaign against ISIS began.
The unnamed official warned that the numbers were a rough estimate.
Separately, a U.S. official who reviewed the new estimate told Fox News that the count of ISIS fighters pretty much "remains the same" since last year. The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS has launched over 10,000 air strikes against the terror group since August 2014.
According to estimates from the U.S. military, ISIS has lost control of 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and only 5 percent in Syria.
The U.S. announced last October that it was sending a small number of special operations forces to Syria to work with moderate opposition forces fighting ISIS there. The administration also revealed in December that it would deploy a "specialized expeditionary targeting force" of about 200 to assist the fight against ISIS in Iraq.
Despite U.S. efforts, terrorism concerns among Americans have heightened, particularly in the wake of the coordinated attacks in Paris that killed 130 people last November. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, and the terror group is also believed to have inspired the deadly attack on a San Bernardino, California, holiday party in December.
Published under: Terrorism