Sat | Aug 24, 2019

Up to 30,000 Islamic State members in Iraq, Syria

Published:Tuesday | August 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM


A new UN report says the Islamic State extremist group has an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 members equally distributed between Syria and Iraq and its global network poses a rising threat as does al-Qaida's global network.

The experts' report to the UN Security Council circulated yesterday says it's likely that a reduced "covert version" of the IS core will survive in Syria and Iraq, with "significant" affiliated supporters in Afghanistan, Libya, Southeast Asia and West Africa.

The experts said al-Qaida's global network "continues to show resilience" with its affiliates and allies much stronger than IS, including in Somalia, Yemen, South Asia and Africa's Sahel.

Despite IS' defeat in Iraq and most of Syria, the experts said many members remain in the two countries, some fighting and some hiding out.