Less than 1,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria: Sunni militant group

Vastavam web: Fewer than 1,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, the United States-led international coalition fighting the hardline Sunni militant group said on Wednesday, a third of the estimated figure only three weeks ago.The United States has led an international coalition conducting air strikes against Islamic State since 2014 when the group swept across a third of Iraq. U.S. troops have served as advisers on the ground with Iraqi government forces and with Kurdish and Arab groups in Syria.

The figure excludes areas in western Syria under the control of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and his allies.Assad’s main ally Russia also said on Wednesday the main battle with Islamic State in Syria was over. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the key task in Syria was now destroying another Islamist group, the Nusra Front.Most of the fighters had been killed or captured over the past three years, the coalition said on Wednesday. It would not respond to a question on whether some fighters could have escaped to other countries, saying it would not “engage in public speculation” but said it was working on preventing that.