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IS numbers at 3000

Thursday, December 07, 2017

BAGHDAD - The US-led international coalition fighting Islamic State estimates that fewer than 3000 fighters belonging to the hardline Sunni militant group remain in Iraq and Syria, its spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate has crumbled this year in Syria and Iraq, with the group losing the cities of Mosul, Raqqa and swathes of other territory.

"Current estimates are that there are less than 3000 Daesh fighters left — they still remain a threat, but we will continue to support our partner forces to defeat them," US Army Colonel Ryan Dillon tweeted, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Col. Dillon's tweet was part of his responses to an online question and answer session in which he also said the coalition had trained 125,000 members of Iraqi security forces, 22,000 of which were Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

When asked if the US planned to build permanent military bases in Iraq or Syria after the defeat of Islamic State, Col. Dillon said it would not.

"No — the Government of Iraq knows where and how many from Coalition are here to support operation to defeat Daesh; all bases are Iraqi led," he tweeted.

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