On Thursday, spokesman for the US-led coalition Col. Ryan Dillon said at a press conference that the current number of ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq is only 20,000.
According to Col. Dillon, a majority of the ISIS manpower (between 5,000 and 10,000 fighters) is now in the middle Euphrates Valley area running from Deir Ezzour to the Iraq-Syria border region. He also revealed that the number of remaining ISIS fighters in Raqqa is less than 2000 fighters, ISIS has also one thousand fighters in Tal Afar, another 1000 fighters in Hawija, and a thousand fighters in Qaim area on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Col. Dillon added that several ISIS commanders were killed over the past months, including Abu Sulayman al-Iraqi, senior propaganda official, Bassam al-Jayfus, ISIS terror attack funds, Ibrahim al-Ansari, ISIS propaganda official, Abu Ali al-Janubi, senior media director, Abu-Sayf al-‘Isawi, ISIS media emir, Abu-Khattab al-Rawi, another ISIS media emir, and Rayaan Meshaal, head and founder of the ISIS-linked Amaq News Agency.
Col. Dillon also confirmed that the US-led collation had dropped support to the Shuhada al-Qaryatayn Brigade. The group had allegedly patrolled areas outside of the de-escalation zone and engaged in activities not related to fighting ISIS without the permission of the US-led coalition leadership.
Col. Dillon said that the US-led coalition only supports forces committed to fighting ISIS.
“We had a partner force we were working with who wanted to pursue other objectives, and those objectives were not consistent with defeating ISIS. So we have since talked with them and made them know that we cannot support them if they want to pursue objectives other than defeating ISIS,” he said. “We are no longer going to support this particular group because that is what they want to do.”
Furthermore, Col. Dillon said that the US-led coalition will work to get back the weapons and equipment provided to the Shuhada al-Qaryatayn Brigade, but the Pentagon refused to reveal what kind of weapons and equipment had been provided to the group.
On July 23, Shuhada al-Qaryatayn Brigade, announced that it had cut off its relationship with the US-led coalition because the collation refused its attacks on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).