CIA Now Says ISIS Has Up to 31,500 Fighters
ISIS fighters drive Toyota Hilux trucks donated to Syrian rebels by US taxpayers.
A CIA representative now says ISIS has an army of 31,500 fighters up from previous estimates.
Daily Sabah reported:
A CIA spokesman reported that a new intelligence assessment estimates that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria, up from a previous figure of 10,000. In Syria, the group has around 15,000 fighters including 2,000 Westerners, according to a U.S. intelligence official who spoke to AFP news agency on Thursday.
“The CIA assesses that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham 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,” CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said in a statement.
“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 said.
The figures were revealed just one day after President Barack Obama pledged to expand an offensive against ISIS, a plan which authorizes new air strikes against the group in Syria, expanded attacks in Iraq and new support for Iraqi government forces.