To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate his Department has made of the number of Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq; and if he will make a statement.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
15 September 2014
It is difficult to estimate the exact number of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants fighting in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq in particular, other insurgent groups and militias have allied with ISIL and operate alongside it, complicating any estimate of ISIL’s numbers. It is likely though that ISIL can mobilise several thousand fighters across both countries. However we cannot be more specific at this time.