“According to our estimates, the Islamic State formations acting in Syria and Iraq comprise up to 70,000 militants of various nationalities,” he said. “At present, this group becomes a key element of radical Islam in the Middle East region and tends to grow further.”
In September the CIA estimated the number of militants fighting for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria at between 20,000 and 31,500.
The IS, otherwise known ISIS or ISIL, has been fighting against the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group began extending its attacks into northern and western Iraq and declared a caliphate on the territories under their control.
To impede the group’s advance, the United States has created an international coalition of over 60 allies of Washington and is currently conducting airstrikes against the IS targets in Iraq and Syria.