Number of foreign fighters entering Iraq and Syria drops by 90 percent, Pentagon says

The Pentagon’s assertion lines up with other information that has emerged recently.

Last week, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, N.Y., published an article in its journal, the CTC Sentinel, that highlighted the Islamic State’s financial plight. Documents in the journal, and noted in a report published by The Post, show that the Islamic State is having difficulty compensating its fighters and workers while providing basic amenities such as electricity and fuel. Recent defectors from the group have indicated that many fighters are on half pay and some haven’t received salaries in months.

Foreign fighters within the Islamic State have traditionally received better treatment than their local and conscripted counterparts. As recently as January, U.S. intelligence reports estimated that there were more than 30,000 foreign fighters from roughly 100 different countries within the Islamic State’s ranks. That includes more than 6,000 Westerners. This number was echoed in a December report by the Soufan Group, a think tank, indicating that foreign fighters in Syria had doubled between 2014 and 2015. Western officials are concerned that foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq will return to their home countries radicalized and willing to carry out terror attacks within their own borders.

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