CIA says, IS has more than 31000 fighters in Iraq and Syria

SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – CIA believes the IS may have more than 31000 fighters, 3 times more than previously thought. A review of intelligence reports from May to August estimates the militant group can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 jihadists, up from a previous figure of 10,000, it said.

The new total reflects stronger recruitment by IS after its military successes and declaration of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, said CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani. US Secretary of State John Kerry is pressing Arab states to support an expanded American military campaign against IS, including airstrikes in Syria.

On Thursday, key Arab allies promised to “do their share” to fight IS, including stopping the flow of fighters and funding to the militants, but NATO member Turkey refused to join in. The 10 Middle East allies announced their backing for a strategy to “destroy” the group “wherever it is, including in both Iraq and Syria,” following a meeting with Mr Kerry in the Red Sea city of Jiddah.

Nearly 40 countries have agreed to contribute to what Mr Kerry said would be a worldwide fight to defeat the militants. “The devastating consequences of extremist hate remain fresh in the minds of all Americans, and to so many of our friends and allies around the world,” said Kerry. Turkey attended the meeting but did not sign the final agreement over fears for 49 Turkish citizens kidnapped from its consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul when it was overrun by IS in June.

US officials played down Turkey’s absence, noting it is still extremely concerned about the fate of its diplomats. Some Persian Gulf states could in theory help with US airstrikes, as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar did in the aerial campaign over Libya in 2011, as well as assisting with weapons, training, intelligence and logistics.

Source: Sky News

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