Iraq denies Pentagon report on presence of 14,000 IS militants on Syria’s border

FILE PHOTO: U.S. forces are seen at the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria April 25, 2017. REUTERS/ Rodi Said/File Photo

Baghdad ( – Iraq denied on Sunday a report released by the Pentagon last week about the presence of 14,000 Islamic State fighters on the country’s border with Syria.

“The figure announced by the Pentagon is extremely exaggerated,” the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, said in a press statement, adding the number of IS members on the Iraqi-Syrian border are estimated at dozens.

Rasool pointed out that the recently-launched three-phase “Victory Will” operation succeeded in destroying many IS hotbeds and hideouts along the borderline between the two countries.

Last week, the Pentagon claimed that the IS group retains between 14,000 and 18,000 members in Iraq and Syria, including up to 3,000 foreigners. The report warned that the group is still actively trying to recruit new fighters in both countries.

The report to the Security Council said the group is believed to be capable of directing funds to support “terrorist acts” within Iraq, Syria and abroad by mainly using services such as informal money transfer businesses.

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