UN: up to 30,000 ISIS members still in Iraq and Syria

UN: up to 30,000 ISIS members still in Iraq and Syria

ISIS (terror organization that is outlawed in Russia) has up to 30,000 members roughly equally distributed between Syria and Iraq and its global network poses a rising threat, a United Nations report says.

The report said that despite the defeat of of the group in Iraq and most of Syria, it is likely that a reduced "covert version" of the militant group’s "core" will survive in both countries, with significant affiliated supporters in Afghanistan, Libya, Southeast Asia and West Africa.

The estimate of between 20,000 and 30,000 members includes "a significant component of the many thousands of active foreign terrorist fighters," the AP cited the report as saying.

The flow of foreign fighters to the group in Syria and Iraq has come to a halt, they said, but “the reverse flow, although slower than expected, remains a serious challenge.”

Despite military defeat in Iraq and Syria, the militant group continues to exert influence in other areas, including Afghanistan, the Sahel and Libya, where the UN estimates it has up to 4,000 fighters.

Although the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militant group maintains a strong presence in Somalia, IS "has the strategic intent to expand to central and southern Somalia." Observers have warned that although the group may one day disappear, its ideology is likely to endure.

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