A high-ranking US official says 75,000 to 115,000 militants, organized in 1500 groups, are fighting the Syrian government.
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According to James Clapper, director of the US National Intelligence, up to 26000 militants share extremist ideologies and are the most brutal.
“Somewhere in the neighborhood of between 20,000 and maybe up to a top range of 26,000 we regard as extremists,” he told the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. “And they are disproportionately influential because they are among the most effective fighters on the battlefield.”
The US official stated that there are 75000 foreign militants from 50 countries operating in Syria and noted that many of them are al-Qaeda militants who’ve flocked to the Arab country from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He also said militants fighting against the Syrian government have turned the crisis in the Arab country into “an apocalyptic disaster.”
“They’re terrible. And when you consider the humanitarian disaster in addition to the 2.5 million refugees, the 6.5 million or 7 million that are internally displaced, the 134,000 plus people that have been killed, it is an apocalyptic disaster,” he added.