US military says number of foreigners joining DAESH decrease sharply

Photo of a weapon, taken in Syria, Wednesday, March 2, 2016.
Photo of a weapon, taken in Syria, Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

The number of foreigners joining the DAESH terrorist group in Iraq and Syria has decreased sharply in the past year to about 200 a month, a US military official said on Tuesday.

That is a drastic decline from about a year ago when between 1,500 and 2,000 foreigners were joining the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq each month, said Air Force Major General Peter Gersten, deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the US-led coalition, during a news briefing.

Earlier this month, the State Department said the number of DAESH terrorists was lower than at any time in the past two years.

Syria has become the main global incubator for a new generation of terrorists as DAESH recruited as many 31,000 foreign fighters in the past 18 months, according to a report published by a former British spy chief last year.

Gersten added that the number of DAESH defectors was increasing as well, but he did not give a specific number.

"We're seeing a fracture in their morale, we're seeing their inability to pay, we're seeing the inability to fight, we're watching them try to leave DAESH in every single way," Gersten said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies