Situation, Facts and Events

Thousands of IS members remain active in Syria and Iraq

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria still comprises up to 5-7 thousand people. As Day.Az reported with reference to Interfax, Associated Press reported this, based on a report by UN experts.

“Experts said that, despite counter-terrorism operations against ISIS, the group still has 5,000-7,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria, most of them militants. However, ISIS has deliberately reduced the intensity of attacks in order to focus on recruiting new fighters and regrouping,” the agency notes.

It follows from the report for the UN Security Council that despite the losses of ISIS and the reduction of its activity in Iraq and Syria, the situation will keep changing, and the terrorists can subtantially strengthen their positions again.


Some 11,000 suspected IS fighters are being held in northeastern Syria, experts say. They are being detained at the facilities of the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurds. Rosh and Al-Hawl refugee camps are also based in this region. According to experts, there are about 55,000 people associated with ISIS or who have family ties to members of the group kept in those facilities. Two thirds of them are children, including 11.8 thousand people from Iraq, about 16 thousand Syrians and over 6.7 thousand people from more than 60 countries. In turn, ISIS is recruiting children in the Al-Hawl camp.

In addition to the camps in northeast Syria, ISIS is trying to find new fighters in neighboring countries, mainly in disadvantaged communities. In the first half of 2023, the danger of ISIS was highest in conflict zones.


Meanwhile, according to some estimates, ISIS-allied forces in the Sahel have become increasingly autonomous, steping up attacks in several parts of Mali, and to a lesser extent operate in Burkina Faso and Niger. Experts fear that terrorists could take advantage of the conflict in Sudan that broke out in mid-April.

Besides, ISIS has 4-6 thousand people, including fighters and their families, in Afghanistan and now poses the greatest terrorist threat to this country and the region as a whole.