CIA Claims ISIS Numbers Are Up To Three Times More Than Previous Estimates

A recent CIA assessment claims ISIS numbers have risen more than three times the numbers of previous estimates.

According to CNN, a CIA spokesman said on Thursday that ISIS “can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.”

Originally, U.S. officials and analysts had estimated the numbers to 10,000 fighters. In their estimate, they included people who were rescued from prisons by ISIS and Sunni loyalists who have joined in the terror and activities of ISIS. The new estimate came after intelligence reports from May to August suggested that ISIS had recruited many more fighters for their cause.

Fox News states the higher numbers show ISIS has been more aggressive in recruiting since June as it moved across Syria and Iraq to establish the so-called Caliphate.

ISIS has successfully recruited foreign fighters from many different countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The Examiner reports dozens of Americans are already fighting with ISIS and over 100 Americans have attempted to join the terrorists. Canadian officials state at least 130 Canadians are fighting alongside other ISIS terrorists in Syria, and British officials say as many as 500 British citizens have joined ISIS.

ISIS recruits
ISIS puts on a show of power to entice people from all over the world to join the group.

A CIA source told CNN new foreign fighters who have gone to Syria come from more than 80 countries. It is unclear whether those fighters have gone to join ISIS or other groups fighting the Syrian government.

Ryan Trapani, a CIA spokesperson, told The Associated Press that the new number reflects “greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence.”

The new estimates were released just a day after President Barack Obama announced his plans to “dismantle and ultimately destroy” ISIS using airstrikes and other tactics with the cooperation of allies in the area.

The United States has already started surveillance missions over Syria. These missions aid the government to decide whether airstrikes are appropriate in the area and to refine its targets based on the information gathered.

It is unknown when the United States will begin to take official action against ISIS in Syria, but a U.S. official told CNN the United States “will take action at a time and place” when an appropriate opportunity presents itself. The U.S. military is already conducting numerous surveillance and reconnaissance flights each day over Iraq to gather more intelligence about specific targets within ISIS.

The CIA will continue to gather information about ISIS numbers and its leaders while the world watches and waits to see what the United States will do next in its efforts to diminish and destroy the terror group.

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