Early this month, the US-led coalition had estimated that 3,000 ISIS fighters were left in Iraq and Syria, the smallest number in years. On Wednesday, officials revised that estimate downward to less than 1,000.
The new statement credited the reduction to the “commitment” of the coalition in fighting ISIS, though there is no indication of any conflicts they’ve been in lately that would remove 2,000 ISIS from the battlefield.
This may reflect more ISIS fighters leaving the region with the loss of effectively all of their territory, heading to other areas of interest for the faction, or returning home to their countries of origin.
If it’s the later, that could be a serious concern, as ISIS recruited heavily from Western Europe and elsewhere around the world, which means their return will put a lot of people with contacts to international terror in places they traditionally have struggled to infiltrate.