Numbers are comparatively small but include foreign fighters
Damascus/Aleteia (aleteia.org/ar) — The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that new recruits have joined the Islamic State extremist group since President Barack Obama announced his intentions last week to expand the scope of air raids against ISIS in order to reach its strongholds in northern and eastern Syria. It indicated that 162 people have joined ISIS training camps in Aleppo since September 10.
However, these new volunteers have not significantly increased ISIS’s numbers. Intelligence agencies estimate that there are between 20,000 and 30,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq. The SOHR estimates that the number of fighters in Syria alone exceeds 50,000.
The SOHR stated that four of the new volunteers are from Australia and 15 are non-Syrian Arabs who entered the country through Turkey. The remainder of the new recruits are Syrian, most of whom have combat experience with the an-Nusrah Front, an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.