(NEWSER) – The CIA says the number of fighters it believes ISIS can muster in Iraq and Syria has tripled in the space of months. The new estimate of between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters on the ground is based on intelligence gathered between May and August, reports the BBC.
"This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence," a CIA spokesman says. An intelligence official tells AFP that the estimate includes some of the estimated 15,000 foreign fighters—including 2,000 Westerners—who have joined the Syrian civil war.
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