6 January 2016, 16:30 GMT
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Up to 30,000 Daesh fighters are currently operating in Iraq and Syria, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson Col. Steven Warren told reporters on Wednesday.
“We estimate there is between 20,000 and 30,000 members of ISIL operating inside both Iraq and Syria,” Warren said.
Daesh, a radical Sunni terrorist group outlawed in Russia, has forced thousands of people, mostly religious minorities including Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims, to flee their homes in Iraq and Syria.
Since 2014, Daesh militants have seized vast areas in the two countries, and have declared a caliphate under the rule of Sharia law in territories they control.
Daesh became notorious for committing a multitude of human rights atrocities, including public beheadings and the stoning of women.