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Number of ISIL Militants Rising Amid Coalition Airstrikes, Assad Says

© AP Photo / Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic StateFighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa
Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa - Sputnik International
Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the airstrikes conducted by the US-led international coalition against ISIL extremists in Iraq and Syria are ineffective, as the militant group has been recruiting more members since the start of anti-ISIL coalition efforts.

MOSCOW  (Sputnik) – The airstrikes conducted by the US-led international coalition against Islamic State (ISIL) extremists in Iraq and Syria are ineffective, as the militant group has been recruiting more members since the start of anti-ISIL coalition efforts, Syrian President Bashar Assad told CBS.

"Sometimes you could have local benefit but in general if you want to talk in terms of ISIS actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes," Assad said in the CBS interview, which aired on Sunday.

According to the Syrian president, Americans are trying to "sugar coat the situation" by saying that things are getting better in Syria and Iraq as a result of coalition airstrikes, when in reality ISIL has been recruiting more and more people in its ranks.

Smoke rises during clashes between Islamic state militants and the Iraqi army in Tikrit March 28, 2015 - Sputnik International
US Jets Strike Iraqi Forces' Positions Instead of ISIL in Tikrit
"Some estimates that they have 1,000 recruits every month in Syria. And Iraq — they are expanding in Libya and many other al Qaeda affiliate organizations have announced their allegiance to ISIS," Assad said.

US President Barack Obama formed an international anti-ISIL coalition in September, 2014. The coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the extremists in Syria and has continued the strikes that the United States launched against ISIL positions in Iraq in August.

Obama has also promised to help train and arm Kurds, Iraqis and "moderate" Syrian opposition who are fighting against ISIL on the ground, but US involvement in ground military operations against the Sunni radicals has not been authorized.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is a jihadist group notorious for its human rights abuses, including multiple kidnappings and killings. In 2014, it took vast territories in Iraq and Syria under control, declaring the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and forcing thousands of people, particularly religious minorities, to flee.

ISIL affiliates also operate in North Africa, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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