At Least 14,000 IS Fighters Reside In Syria, Iraq Today - US Anti-Terror Center Chief

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 31st October, 2019) At least 14,000 fighters from the Islamic State terror organization (IS, banned in Russia) are currently operating in Syria and Iraq, a sharp uptick from six years ago, when the group's numbers had declined to under 1,000, the top US counter-terrorism official said on Wednesday.

"We believe that within Syria and Iraq, there are at least 14,000 ISIS [IS] fighters - and that's an important number because five-six years ago, when ISIS was at its low point, they were down under a thousand," US National Counterterrorism Center Acting Director Russell Travers said in a testimony before the Committee on Homeland Security.

Travers said the terror group's increasing numbers indicate that it still has a range of insurgency options, despite its military setbacks in recent years.

The official also noted that IS currently has around 20 affiliated branches around the world, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it it is believed to have recruited thousands more fighters.