WASHINGTON -- The number of ISIS fighters believed to remain in Syria and Iraq is much higher than previously estimated, according to a new report to Congress from the U.S. Lead Inspector General.
At the end of December, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement to Reuters that "due to the commitment of the Coalition and the demonstrated competence of our partners in Iraq and Syria, there are estimated to be less than 1,000 ISIS terrorists in our combined joint area of operations, most of whom are being hunted down in the desert regions in eastern Syria and Western Iraq."
Earlier that month, where Iraq declared victory over ISIS, the coalition estimated there were fewer than 3,000 ISIS fighters left in the region. At successive briefings, the Defense Department has declared continued success against the terror group.
But the new report estimates "roughly 14,000 fighters" still in Syria and "15,500 to 17,100 ISIS fighters" remaining in Iraq at the conclusion of the quarter at the end of June.