LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. estimates of the number of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria have been reduced while cuts in their pay are evidence they are on the defensive, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the group said on Monday.
But the task of defeating Islamic State is complicated by Russian air strikes in Syria which are 90 percent targeted at opposition fighters and not at the jihadist group, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren said.
Warren said increases in forced conscription, the recruitment of child soldiers and the use of elite fighters in common units were all evidence that Islamic State was seeing a slowing in the influx of foreign fighters.
“We believe that Daesh is now beginning to lose. We see them in a defensive crouch,” Warren told reporters in London, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.